A career special-teams ace, cornerback Sherrick McManis is used to having his impact on a game overshadowed — but probably never quite like this.
McManis’ block of Chris Boswell’s 35-yard field-goal try was almost instantly a footnote after Marcus Cooper stunningly stopped at the 1-yard line on the return and lost possession of the ball. Still, McManis’ contribution to the Bears’ 23-17 overtime victory Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t be pushed into the background. McManis also retrieved a muffed punt in the first quarter that led to Jordan Howard’s three-yard touchdown run that gave the Bears a 7-0 lead.
“Sherrick McManis just makes plays,” defensive end Akiem Hicks said. “I talked about him at meetings this week. I was telling [a teammate], ‘It’s so awesome to see a guy find his niche in this league.’ He’s a highlight special-teams player, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw him in Orlando [at the Pro Bowl] for special teams.”
McManis typically deflected attention to the entire special-teams units. “We’re doing well as a unit,” he said. “We’re really focused. We take meetings seriously. Everybody on that team wants to make plays.”
As for himself? “I’m very excited,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m happy I did my job and made some big plays to help us win.”
Shaheen breaks through
All Adam Shaheen does is score touchdowns.
The rookie tight end made his first NFL reception count Sunday. He caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Mike Glennon that gave the Bears a 14-7 lead with 5:42 left in the first half. It was his only catch of the day.
It wasn’t complicated. Shaheen was uncovered by the Steelers as he broke off the line on the first-and-goal play.
“I was wide open,” Shaheen said. “It was a great play call and definitely going to be one I’ll remember.”
A rare cornerback blitz paid dividends when Bryce Callahan not only sacked Ben Roethlisberger but forced a fumble that Hicks recovered in the first half.
Outside linebackers Pernell McPhee and Willie Young also had sacks of Roethlisberger. McPhee’s came on a third-and-two play in the fourth quarter that forced a punt.
“I was just trying to make a play for my team,” McPhee said. “They were doubling [Hicks] the whole game and the rest of the guys on the inside.”
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