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Call him the ‘Freezer’: Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks runs in TD for Bears

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It was a big play made by the Bears’ biggest guy. And it paid homage to a franchise legend.

Enter ‘‘Freezer’’ left.

That’s the name of the play coach Matt Nagy called that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by defensive lineman Akiem Hicks in the second quarter of the Bears’ 30-27 overtime loss Sunday to the Giants.

‘‘I was super-excited,’’ said Hicks, who scored on fourth down. ‘‘I was super-excited to get back behind our big fellas, our other big guys, and let them get me into the end zone. It was pretty cool, man. It was a fun play. It was exciting.’’

Bears defensive linemen Akiem Hicks scored on a one-yard touchdown run against the Giants. | Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Bears defensive linemen Akiem Hicks scored on a one-yard touchdown run against the Giants. | Seth Wenig/Associated Press

It was simple, too — a straightforward dive behind center Cody Whitehair and left guard James Daniels.

It also was nearly identical to William ‘‘The Refrigerator’’ Perry’s one-yard touchdown run in the Bears’ 46-10 rout of the  Patriots in Super Bowl XX.

Hicks and Perry are the only defensive linemen in Bears history to score rushing touchdowns. Perry did it three times during the Bears’ famous 1985 season.

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‘‘We have had that play in for weeks, and we’ve been practicing it,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘The rain was coming down. I don’t know if you guys could tell, but there were some times out there where the ball was slick. So in that situation, that was a time where we felt like: ‘Hey, No. 1, let’s get the ball under center. Let’s give [Hicks] a chance.’ And he is hard to stop down there with getting the ball full steam ahead.’’

Unlike Perry, Hicks didn’t plunge through potential tacklers. He had to barrel his way through a pileup but easily reached the goal line.

Should the Bears run the play again?

‘‘I need to be as far away from the ball as possible on a regular basis when it comes to offense,’’ a smiling Hicks said. ‘‘My strengths, for what they pay me to do, is go hit quarterbacks.’’

Hicks had six tackles and a sack against the Giants. But his strong defensive showing and his touchdown didn’t result in a
victory.

‘‘You never like to lose,’’ Hicks said. ‘‘Shoot, half the guys in this room don’t even like to lose at checkers. But I will say this: We know who we are. We know what level we can play at, and we are going to come out next Sunday and do what we do.’’