Typically with offensive coordinator Mike Martz, a lack of balance is cited as the main reason for paltry rushing numbers. No excuses this time. The Bears called a fairly balanced game. The problem is the rushing attack simply didn't produce. Marion Barber, Kahlil Bell, and Matt Forte combined for 90 yards on 33 attempts, which comes out to 2.7 yards per attempt. That's not exactly coming "off the bus running."
Poor protection shouldn't be blamed for the seven sacks Caleb Hanie took against the Chiefs, because the quarterback admitted he was responsible for some of them. Besides that, Hanie completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw three interceptions, giving him six INTs over the past two weeks. It went somewhat unnoticed, but with Forte suffering the knee injury in the first quarter, the Bears didn't run any screen passes.
Chicago shut down former Bears running back Thomas Jones, limiting him to 2.3 yards per carry. But the club struggled somewhat against change-of-pace back Dexter McCluster, who gained 61 yards on nine totes, with the majority of that coming on a 32-yard burst. Kansas City's running backs combined for 112 yards, but were largely unproductive.
The Bears gave up a touchdown on a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half. But that was Kansas City's longest gain of the afternoon through the air. In fact, aside from that completion, the second-longest pass was a 19 yarder to Steve Breaston. The Bears limited Tyler Palko to just 157 yards. The only negative was the Bears' inability to produce an interception despite numerous opportunities.
Devin Hester might go down as arguably one of the NFL's best ever return men, but he made several questionable decisions fielding punts. Several times Hester waved for the fair-catch signal, only to let the ball bounce, which cost the club field position. Robbie Gould pushed a 41-yard attempt wide left in the third quarter. Chicago's punt-coverage unit deserves credit for recovering a loose ball in the first quarter that bounced off Jalil Brown.
There's not much a coaching staff could have done to prevent Hanie from making inaccurate throws, taking sacks and tossing interceptions. So the offensive staff shouldn't shoulder much of the blame for this one because at some point, the quarterback has to execute. Defensively, the Bears put together a strong enough plan for the team to come away with the victory. The Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half was simply a freak occurrence, and made all the difference in this ballgame.
EXPERTS' PREDICTIONS FOR WEEK 13
- DeFalco (8-3)
- J.D. (7-4)
- Jon (7-4)
- Isaacson (7-4)
- Jurkovic (8-3)
- Silvy (9-2)
- Spain (9-2)
- Harry (8-3)
- Waddle (8-3)
- Wilbon (8-3)
- Woj (7-4)
- Wright (6-5)