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Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama survives Auburn to keep playoff dreams alive

Just when it looked like Ohio State and Alabama were going to lose on the same day since Nov. 10, 2007, the Crimson Tide went on a 12-play, 97-yard drive in 1:11 to tie the game with 24 seconds and force overtime vs.

Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

Bryce Young was held in check all game, Alabama was scoreless until the 8:44 mark in the third quarter when they got a 30-yard field goal, but he showed why blood was replaced with ice water in his veins when the season was on the line.

Young accounted for all the offense on the game-tying drive, rushing twice for 12 yards and completing four passes, including the touchdown to Ja’Corey Brooks from 28 yards out.

TOUCHDOWN BAMA

TIE BALLGAME pic.twitter.com/j4hJI4KfSG

— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 28, 2021

The Heisman front-runner entering the game may not have done enough to win it, but that was a defining moment for the first-year starter. If he can lead Alabama to a win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, the Trophy will be his, giving Alabama back-to-back winners after DeVonta Smith won last year.

Heisman leaderboard: Is it Bryce Young’s Trophy to lose?

Young is the leader because he’s a quarterback on a top-three team, but he’s got some company, including some defensive players with a legit shot to join Charles Woodson as Heisman winners.

Hutchison had the biggest Heisman statement of the year with his three-sack performance against Ohio State in what may prove to be the most-watched game of the year. Hutchison’s teammate, Haskins, may join him in New York if he has a 150-yard, three-touchdown showing vs. Iowa to win the Big Ten.

Young’s teammate, Will Anderson leads the nation in sacks and tackles for loss and has been a game-wrecker all year. Young’s presence may preclude Anderson from getting an invite but he’s been unblockable.

Georgia’s massive nose tackle Jordan Davis doesn’t have the box score stats of Anderson or Hutchison and his value to the nation’s best defense isn’t as easy to see as a top quarterback but he’s been one of the four or five most valuable and best players all year.

It’s wild but there are more defensive players worthy of consideration for the Heisman than there are offensive players.

Consider Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum who may be the most dominant player at any position for a spot in the Heisman ceremony in New York on Dec. 11. He has a stronger argument than any other quarterback besides Young and may have a better case than Haskins. If Iowa wins the Big Ten, send him to New York.

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Luke Getsy, the Green Bay Packers passing game coordinator, reportedly is weighing an offer to become the Chicago Bears new offensive coordinator

Now the heavy lifting will really intensify. The Chicago Bears found their way to the finish line of their two most important search processes, hiring Ryan Poles as general manager and Matt Eberflus as coach this week.

But now the behind-the-scenes work is escalating, particularly as both new leaders work to put together supports staffs. The biggest order of business, of course, will be hiring a new offensive coordinator to oversee the development of quarterback Justin Fields and revive a unit that has had its tires stuck in the mud for far too long.

To that end, chatter in league circles has picked up since Eberflus’ hiring was announced Thursday with the Bears said to be zeroing in on Green Bay Packers passing game coordinator Luke Getsy as a top coordinator option.

According to a report from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Friday afternoon, Getsy was weighing an offer to become the Bears coordinator with a belief the job was his if he wanted it. Getsy is the Packers’ passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, working closely with MVP Aaron Rodgers. He has spent seven seasons with the organization, working through previous stints as a quality control coach and wide receivers coach.

Houston Texans passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton, meanwhile, was set to meet with the Bears about a job on the coaching staff. It is unclear whether Hamilton was being sought as a potential coordinator or courted to join the team as a quarterbacks coach with additional responsibilities.

Hamilton previously was with the Bears from 2007-09 as quarterbacks coach under head coach Lovie Smith and coordinator Ron Turner. Since then he has mixed in college stops at Stanford and Michigan while handling NFL assistant coaching duties with the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers and Houston Texans.

In 2020, Hamilton was the Chargers quarterbacks coach, working closely with Justin Herbert during his standout rookie season. This season, Hamilton again delivered hands-on tutelage to a rookie, working with Texans quarterback Davis Mills. Both experiences would certainly be worthwhile if Hamilton is chosen as one of the main overseers for Fields.

Philadelphia Eagles passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo has also been linked to the Bears’ open coordinator role. Patullo was on the Colts coaching staff for three seasons with Eberflus, serving as receivers coach in 2018 and 2019 and jumping up to a role as passing game specialist under Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni in 2020.

Poles, meanwhile, has been reaching out to prospective candidates for his front office staff, with a league source confirming that Eagles director of player personnel Ian Cunningham could be in line for a top role with the Bears, possibly even considered to become Poles’ assistant general manager.

Cunningham has worked his way up in the league over the last 14 seasons, getting his start in the Baltimore Ravens scouting department and spending the last five years in Philadelphia. He has a relationship with Poles and in league circles has developed a reputation for being intelligent and observant, traits that helped him rise quickly through the scouting ranks.

With dozens of jobs to fill on the front office and coaching staffs, Poles and Eberflus face a demanding stretch ahead in their first weeks working for the Bears.

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