Bears saw 'some good things' from Hanie

DENVER -- Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie remains a work in progress, but unlike his previous two starts, the Bears quarterback protected the football, which counts as progress after he tossed six combined interceptions during defeats to Oakland and Kansas City.

"Ball security was pretty good," Hanie said. "No turnovers today; that was an improvement. We didn't throw the ball so much because we were running it well and our defense was playing good. That's kind of what the game called for; we were pounding away and running the clock. I'd have to look at the tapes to see details of passing but I think I stayed in the pocket a little better today."

No doubt Hanie would like to have a few throws back, especially a fourth-quarter misfire to running back Marion Barber that could have gone for a large gain. Hanie also had one pass dangerously close to being picked off, but he finished a respectable 12 of 19 with a quarterback rating of 79.9.

Those numbers can obviously improve, but for the third straight week, Hanie and the Bears were in position to win late but failed to seal the deal.

"He made some plays," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said of Hanie. "We had a chance to win at the end, so our quarterback had a lot to do with that. Our running game had a lot to do with that, but we saw some good things out of Caleb."

Hanie is expected to get at least one more start at quarterback next Sunday versus Seattle. Jay Cutler traveled with the team to Denver, but won't be ready to return until the Green Bay game Christmas night at the absolute earliest. Although with the Bears playoffs chances slipping away, there is no guarantee Cutler or Matt Forte will return to action if the organization falls out of the NFC wild-card race.