For Bears' Kyle Fuller, Big Plays More Than A Day's Work

November 04, 2018 - 6:17 pm
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (670 The Score) -- To be in the right place at the right time is no coincidence for Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller. 

Making plays is the byproduct of detailed preparation that goes into each week. It's watching endless hours of film and studying an opposing quarterback so meticulously that he so often knows where the ball is going.

During the Bears' thoroughly dominant 41-9 win over the Bills on Sunday at New Era Field, Fuller got his hands on two throws that led to interceptions for teammates -- one to linebacker Leonard Floyd that he returned for a touchdown, another for safety Adrian Amos -- then capped off his afternoon at New Era Field with a pick of his own. 

"We go out every week expecting to put ourselves in position when the ball is thrown to be able to get there," Fuller said. "That's our mentality every week, and I feel like we did a good job of that today."

Driving Fuller's success has been a work ethic behind the scenes that his teammates rave about. Cornerback Prince Amukamara praised what Fuller does inside Halas Hall on weekdays that allows him to find the football on Sundays. Leading up to each game, Fuller scouts the tendencies of an offense and quarterback to predict where the football is going based on in-game situations. He has become good at recognizing a particular route run by the opposing receiver and timing himself to the football because he knows where the play is going. The soft-spoken Fuller is often in his teammates' ears telling them what to look for based on a game situation.

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In the second quarter Sunday, Fuller broke on a Nathan Peterman pass to Terrelle Pryor and fought it loose, setting up Amos for a diving interception. Just four minutes later, Fuller made a break on Zay Jones and struck him before the ball arrived -- it was legal contact at the line of scrimmage -- which allowed Floyd to swoop in with the pick-six.

"He stepped up to the challenge and made some great plays," Bears coach Matt Nagy said.

Fuller's best effort came on the final play of the third quarter, jumping a Kelvin Benjamin route and diving in for the interception. He had told Amukamara earlier that he would be ready for that move across the middle from Benjamin. Sure enough, it was there for the taking.

"That was just preparation and him trusting what he saw," Amukamara said.

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Fuller had a breakout season in 2017, posting 22 pass breakups and two interceptions. Bears teammates lauded the work of Fuller, who in turn was awarded a four-year, $56-million contract this offseason after the transition tag was applied.

Each week, the Bears' defensive coaching staff presents film to players and to prepare them for what could be coming. To make sure it's understood, they reinforce the information in the form of quiz questions based upon specific game situations. A player must respond by drawing the correct routes to seek out.

Amukamara broke through with his first interception since 2015 during the Bears' 24-17 win on Sept. 17, reacting to a throw by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson that he anticipated because of a quiz question. He picked off the pass and returned it for the game-sealing score.

It's up to each player to take that information given by the coaches and make the best use of it. Fuller often has the iPad in use hours before kickoff, studying up whatever more he can to be best prepared.

On Sunday, Fuller delivered for the Bears (5-3) in an emphatic performance. They will need more of that as a key stretch of three division games in 12 days awaits. Before then, they will return to practice and try to build off a proud day in Buffalo.

"The guys feel what we did and understand how important it is to get back to work, continue to get better and learn from it," Fuller said. "Let's keep things going.

"Take care of what we can control."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​