Austin soars, then crashes

FootballSportsChicago BearsNFLNew Orleans SaintsR.W. McQuartersPhillip Daniels

Cornerback Reggie Austin's first NFL start began the way he'd always hoped, but it didn't end that way. His early interception to set up his team's first touchdown was overshadowed by a missed tackle that allowed wide receiver Donté Stallworth to score the deciding points in the Bears' 29-23 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

"That's life," said Austin, who leads the Bears with two interceptions. "That's NFL football. You can't dwell on one play. Just like when I made the interception; I wasn't sitting there thinking, 'Oh, great, it's over.' I knew other things would come up. I've just got to come back next week and play better.

"He was my man. He ran an 'out' route and I missed the tackle. Nine times out of 10, I make that play."

Austin and Todd McMillon have struggled at times trying to replace veteran R.W. McQuarters in the secondary. McQuarters remains out with a sprained knee sustained in the season-opener against Minnesota. But while defensive end Phillip Daniels expects to return Oct. 7 from his sprained ankle, also sustained against Minnesota, McQuarters is not as optimistic.

Asked when he'd return, McQuarters said, "I think [the Bears and doctors] still don't know."

McMillon started at Atlanta last week, and he and Austin divided time in the last two games. McMillon was credited initially with four solo tackles but committed one of the Bears' many mistakes.

McMillon was called for a personal foul while blocking on a punt return, and the 15-yard assessment left the Bears with the ball at midfield instead of at the New Orleans 35. From there the offense was unable to manage a first down.

"I was just trying to be aggressive out there," McMillon said. "[The Saints player] cut back in when I thought he was going upfield and my hands just went up to his face. It wasn't anything deliberate like trying to hit him in the face. I was just out there trying to make a play. It just happened, an incidental type of thing."

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