- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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1. Johnny Knox, WR: Knox put together his first 100-yard outing of the season, hauling in four passes for 145 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Interestingly, Knox has averaged 20 yards per catch or more in six of the Bears' team’s 11 games. The outing against the Raiders certainly qualifies as a breakout performance, but even Knox would admit that he needs to be more consistent with catching the ball and route running.
2. Henry Melton, DT: Melton has responded positively after sitting down with Bears coach Lovie Smith to discuss his dwindling production. Against the Raiders, Melton was a disruptive force, and finished with a sack. Melton now has five sacks on the season. But that number could rise given the production the team is getting from defensive end Julius Peppers, who is often double teamed.
3. Julius Peppers, DE: Since suffering a knee injury against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 10, Peppers has been on fire. Prior to that game, he had posted two sacks over the first five contests. Since then, he’s notched six, including two multiple-sack outings. Peppers sacked Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer twice on Sunday, and finished with three tackles for lost yardage. Peppers has also been one of the team’s major forces against the run.
1. Anthony Adams, NT: Adams has now been inactive for two games this season, and has posted just one tackle over his last three outings. One reason the team made Adams inactive against the Raiders was the return of Matt Toeaina, who had missed four of the past six games with a sprained knee. The consummate professional, Adams won’t complain about his role changing. If anything, expect him to respond with better play.
2. Caleb Hanie, QB: Let’s preface this by saying one game doesn’t constitute a slump, but given the situation with the team in the mix for a playoff berth, one bad game can be damaging. Hanie threw three interceptions in the first half, and eventually settled in and performed like the team expected. Hanie won’t be in this section long, and the team is confident he’ll bounce back with strong performances. We’re inclined to believe that, too.
3. Mike Martz, offensive coordinator: Now you know we can’t place Hanie in the slumping category, and not add Martz, too. Martz played a role in one of the three first-half turnovers by calling the throwback screen. Interestingly, Raiders linebacker Aaron Curry said he saw the Bears run that play out of the same formation in London just before halftime. When he saw it Sunday, Curry said all he had to do was wait for the Bears to throw it to him.