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 LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -A day after an important win, quarterback Brian Griese called another audible.
This time, he threw some credit toward the coaches for that late 97-yard touchdown drive that lifted the Bears to a 19-16 win at Philadelphia on Sunday.
Yes, the audio in his helmet was not working. But that comment Griese made afterward about calling all the plays except the touchdown pass Muhsin Muhammad? Forget it.
``I did not call all the plays,'' Griese said Monday.
The Bears were trailing 16-12 when they took over on their own 3 with 1:52 remaining. The offense had stagnated, there were no timeouts left and the audio in Griese's helmet wasn't working. There was little reason for optimism.
Yet, minutes later, there was Muhammad catching a 15-yard touchdown pass with 9 seconds left, and there were the Bears letting out a sigh of relief after avoiding a potentially crushing loss.
Griese completed 7 of 9 passes for 97 yards as the Bears charged up the field, and he did it mostly without hearing any coaches' voices, which may have amused cynics.
Afterward, he told reporters the final play came from the sideline, but ``the remainder of the plays were ones I called.''
On Monday, Griese wanted to clear up a ``miscommunication'' so he addressed the media even though players usually are not available the day after a win.
``It's gotten a little out of control, from what I read,'' Griese said. ``I wanted you guys to understand what really happened, and I didn't think that was being portrayed. If that's my miscommunication, I take responsibility for that.''
Griese said what happened on that drive was simply ``the normal course of a 2-minute drill.''
Griese said there were two instances where he had to call the play with the clock stopped rather than get it from the sideline. When the clock's ticking, however, Griese said the quarterback makes the call at the line. Even so, Griese acknowledged he was looking to the sideline as the Bears approached midfield, at times reading quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton's lips.
He credited the coaches for ``three big plays'' leading up to the touchdown: a 7-yard pass to Desmond Clark in the flat, a 25-yarder over the middle to Bernard Berrian that put the Bears on the Philadelphia 36 and a 21-yarder to Devin Hester that moved them to the 15.
Griese then spiked the ball and ran to the sideline to get the play. Then, he found Muhammad in the back of the end zone for the touchdown that gave the Bears the victory and perhaps kept them in the NFC playoff picture.
Coach Lovie Smith said Griese ran the same plays the coaches would have called and shot down the notion that the audio was sabotaged.
``No,'' he said. ``Something like that happens every week. ... Tell me there's technology that never fails. Believe me, that's just a minor thing we have to deal with from time to time.''
The bigger issue for the Bears (3-4) was getting the win.
Now, they have a chance to pull to .500 when they host Detroit, and that would certainly energize them heading into the bye week. They've been hit hard by injuries, weakening a once-feared defense. They're getting little from running back Cedric Benson, who ran for 46 yards Sunday. They seemed to regroup when they rallied to win at Green Bay on Oct. 7, only to get run over by Adrian Peterson in a three-point loss to Minnesota the following week.
So the Bears are still a vulnerable bunch.
They have issues, besides the one Griese chose to address on Monday.
``Those guys deserve the credit,'' Griese said of the coaches. ``The call to Bernard on third-and-3 (at the Bears 39) ... was a great call, as was the play to Devin Hester and the last play. I just wanted you guys to be clear that this was not all my calling of all the plays.''
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