Notebook: Defense hungry for turnovers

With Matt Forte and Jay Cutler out, Chicago's defensive players know the onus is on them. We also discuss the matchup between Tim Tebow and Brian Urlacher, the injury report and more.

Holding the Chiefs to just 245 total yards and allowing only 10 points isn't good enough for the Bears' defenders -- at least not when the offense is without Jay Cutler and Matt Forte. And they realize that.

"We don't feel like we did enough to win because we didn't win the game," cornerback Corey Graham said. "On defense, we feel like we have to get the ball out. We weren't able to do that. We pride ourselves on stopping the run and creating turnovers, we weren't able to do that. We didn't create turnovers, so nine times out of 10 when you don't do that, you're not going to win the game. We've got to do better. We've got to find a way to make it happen, and (Sunday) we weren't able to do that."

The Bears got their only turnover on special teams when cornerback Zack Bowman recovered a punt that first brushed the Chiefs' Jalil Brown. Unfortunately for the Bears, their offense turned the ball over on downs when, on fourth-and-2 at the Kansas City 35, Earl Bennett couldn't hold on to a high pass from Caleb Hanie.

That was one of several plays where a teammate could have stepped up with a big play and helped Hanie survive a lousy game and still get a win, but no one did.

--Maybe the best one-on-one matchup Sunday will be Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher against Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who is averaging 13 carries per game.

When the Broncos go with an empty backfield, the 6-4, 258-pound Urlacher is generally able to freelance, which means he'll be focusing on the 6-3, 235-pound Tebow.

"It'd be hard to just say, 'just Urlacher,' it's our whole defense," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "But there will be some times when, if they go empty, a lot of times Brian is a free guy who's kind of roaming the middle of the field, and you could see that matchup a few times."

Smith says that matchup favors the Bears.

"Tebow is a big guy at quarterback, but he's not Brian Urlacher," the Bears' coach said. "We want to get Brian in one-on-one matchups with just about anybody as often as we possibly can."

BY THE NUMBERS: 17 -- Bears takeaways in the past six games, although they've got a total of just two takeaways in the past two weeks. They're third in the NFL with 25 takeaways.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's not going to happen. They do a great job running the football. Their stats say that, but we are set up to stop the run. Every game we go into, that's our No. 1 goal to stop the run, so our guys are looking forward to this challenge." -- Bears coach Lovie Smith, when he was asked if the Broncos' ground game might wear down his defense.


With Matt Forte out, at least for a couple games, third-string RB Kahlil Bell will be seeing some action as the backup to Marion Barber.

"He's not Matt Forte," coach Lovie Smith said, "but not many people are. He does catch the ball well, protections and things like that, he does a good job with that. He knows what to do when he gets the football. Good size, can run in between the tackles, can make you miss in the open field. He was just happy to get an opportunity. When you're the third tailback, you're looking for reps and you know that you have to take advantage of it. He did."

Bell picked up 34 yards last week on four carries, including a 26-yard run.


--RB Matt Forte (sprained right MCL) is out this week.

--QB Jay Cutler (fractured right thumb) is out this week.

--S Major Wright did not practice Wednesday and probably won't play Sunday.

--LB Brian Urlacher (quad) was limited at Wednesday's practice but will play Sunday.

--CB Charles Tillman (quad) was limited at Wednesday's practice but will play Sunday.

--NT Anthony Adams (back) was limited at Wednesday's practice and will probably be listed as questionable on Friday.


This week the goal is to give embattled, fill-in quarterback Caleb Hanie a chance to be successful. That means protecting him better than last week, when he was sacked seven times. It also means WR Roy Williams will be expected to hang on to passes that hit him in the hands while he's in the end zone and not bobble them into the grasp of a defensive player. It also means that RB Marion Barber, even when he's split out wide as a receiver, must realize that he needs to be on the line of scrimmage to cover the tackle on that side of the line. Hanie, of course, must be able to hit a bull in the rear end with a handful of peas, which he might have struggled to do at times last week.

Defensively it's all about stopping the league's most productive run game, and the Bears insist that's what they're all about. The numbers back them up. In the past seven weeks they have permitted just 74.3 rushing yards per game.


Bears seven-time Pro Bowl MLB Brian Urlacher vs. Broncos QB Tim Tebow, who has rushed for 468 yards and is averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Bears RT Lance Louis, who was horrible last week against the Chiefs and was wholly or partly responsible for allowing four sacks, vs. Broncos LB Von Miller, who leads the AFC with 10.5 sacks and is a virtual lock for defensive rookie of the year.

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