The Eagles allowed an opportunity to pin the Bears back deep in their own territory slip by in the third quarter of last week's 24-20 win. With the ball at the Eagles' 40-yard line, Sav Rocca only managed a 16-yard punt that went out of bounds at the Bears' 44-yard line. Add another 5 yards as Dimitri Patterson was called for an ineligible downfield kick penalty and the Bears had the ball just short of midfield. The Bears only had to travel 20 yards for Robbie Gould to hit a 49-yard field goal to give the Bears a 12-10 lead.
Special teams coordinator Ted Daisher explained on Thursday that Rocca was supposed to punt the ball away from return man Devin Hester for two reasons. Hester is a dangerous return man with 11 career touchdowns to his credit (seven on punt, four on kickoff returns). The Eagles were also without their starting gunners. Quintin Demps was injured and Patterson was in on the coverage unit, but was also playing cornerback in Asante Samuel's absence.
"We're trying to make (Rocca) very conscious of that, to give the returner less space because we don't have our starting gunners out there," Daisher said.
However, Daisher still expects more from Rocca.
"We expect Sav to be more consistent than what he's been," Daisher said. "He's worked hard throughout the season. He's going to have to do a better job for us this week."
Ramzee Robinson and Reggie Brown were the gunners. Daisher praised Robinson for his coverage on a fourth quarter punt where Robinson pushed Hester out of bounds at the Bears' 35-yard line after just a 7-yard gain. Six plays later, Sean Jones intercepted a Jay Cutler pass to seal the win.
Rocca punted the ball five times against the Bears and posted a gross average of 33.8 yards per punt and a net average of 30.6 yards. Each of those numbers was a season-low for Rocca. For the year, Rocca is averaging 41.4 yards per punt and has a net average of 37.8 yards per punt. Rocca is the franchise's all-time leader in net punting average with 37.0 yards per punt.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 10:35 a.m., November 26