Chicago Sun-Times

Raiders special teams shines in victory

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Doesn't seem to happen very often, but the Bears special teams was outplayed by the Oakland Raiders Sunday.

The Raiders controlled the field position, with an average starting point of their own 40 yard line, while the Bears started at their own 20. They also bottled up Devin Hester, who averaged 3.5 yards on two punts and 19.5 yards on two kickoffs.

But most impressive was the play of kicker Sebastian Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler. Janikwoski booted a team record six field goals, including four from 40 or more yards. While Lechler averaged a whopping 54.6 yards on punts, including a team-record 80-yarder in the fourth quarter.

"First time in history I've seen somebody kick an 80-yard punt that was in the air," Hester said. "I thought I was back pretty good -- I was about 50, 55 yards deep and he still boomed it over my head."

Lechler also had a 50-yard punt with 70 seconds remaining that was downed at the Bears' 4-yard line.

Raiders coach Hue Jackson naturally talked up his kickers.

"As I've said, our two kickers are fantastic," Jackson said. "Shane is as good as there is in football. He is phenomenal, and I'm proud that he's on this football team."

Added Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer, "Those guys are game-changers."

Lechler is a six-time Pro Bowl selection. But, remarkably, Janikowski has only been a Pro Bowl alternate, and that was last season.

The Bears kickers didn't play too shabby, either. Gould drilled a 50- and 53-yarder in the fourth quarter, to keep his team in it. Adam Podlesh also had a couple nice punts, too.

But the Bears had two penalties on returns, and they were unable to recover the onside kick toward the end of the game.

"It was a great kick by Robbie," Bears cornerback Charles Tillman said. "It was a great effort... but, in the end, it wasn't enough."

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on November 27, 2011 8:49 PM.

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