Texans win physical bout over Bears
Texans win physical bout over Bears
Playing through the cold conditions at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the Texans (8-1) traded hard-hitting blows with the Bears and prevailed to remain top of the AFC while confirming their title credentials.
Arian Foster fought for 102 yards rushing and caught a two-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter for a 10-3 Texans lead that stood out in a game that featured little offense.
“Sometimes in cold weather games running the ball is necessary,” Foster told reporters. “This field is pretty bad, but everybody was in it so you had to do what you had to do.”
Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler was knocked out of the game with concussion late in the second quarter after taking a hard hit that forced him to stay in the locker room at halftime.
Back-up Jason Campbell could only lead the home team to a third-quarter field goal against the determined Houston defense while the Texans added a field goal in the fourth from Shayne Graham, his second of the game.
Chicago’s final drive attempt to tie the game stalled at their own 40-yard line.
“At halftime (the coach) looked at me and just said ‘be ready’,” said Campbell, who was 11-for-19 passing with 94 yards.
“Tonight was my first (chance) since the season started. You have to be patient and try to work through it.”
Though the Bears (7-2) entered the game as the league’s best at creating turnovers, the Texans outshone them with four, including three in the first quarter.
Houston intercepted Cutler twice before he left the game.
Graham opened the scoring with a field goal in the opening quarter before Chicago tied it 3-3 in the second with the first of two Robbie Gould field goals.
With the field muddied and slippery, neither side could gain separation and both offenses finished with less than 250 yards.
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall was his team’s only constant threat as he finished with eight catches for 107 yards.
For the Texans, the win was another step forward in the continued growth of the franchise. Having reached their first ever post-season last year, the team has even bigger goals this time around.
“If we continue to stay within what our team is doing we can go all the way. Nobody can stop us,” said Houston safety Danieal Manning, who finished with a forced fumble and an interception.
“The sky is the limit.”
Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss
- Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
- Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.
MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
“I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
“The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
“This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.”
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
“Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.