In need of a break

The first two weeks of the season have felt like they've carried over from last year. The Bears have been outscored 73-20 in two games and now have to deal

Among teams that have played two games, only the Eagles (10) and Browns (19) have scored fewer points than the Bears.

In two games this season the Bears' offense has produced a total of just 335 yards, the worst back-to-back offensive performances by far since Dick Jauron became coach in 1999.

Even during last season's 4-12 debacle, the worst two-game stretch on offense still produced 404 yards. Not even Dave Wannstedt's last two Bears teams, both of which finished 4-12, came close to the current offensive ineptitude.

In 2001, the Bears' lowest offensive total in consecutive games was 411 yards. The lowest back-to-back yardage total in 2000 was 390, in 1999 it was 533, in '98 it was 434, and in '97 it was 442.

The Bears' two-game total is just 6 1/2 yards more than the 328.4 yards that NFL teams averaged per game last season.

It's been nearly 11 years since any Bears team combined for fewer yards in back-to-back games than during the current drought. In the last two games of Mike Ditka's reign, his offense managed only 334 yards in season-ending losses to the Lions 16-3 and the Cowboys, 27-14.

The Bears have two weeks to prepare for Green Bay and after the result of their first two games the team from Chicago will need every minute. The Packers will concentrate on the Arizona Cardinals this week, while the Bears focus solely on their foes to the north.

"The bye week comes at a good time for our football team," said Coach Dick Jauron. "Normally in a season you probably wouldn't want a bye this early if you had your choice, but with our team right now it comes at a good time. We'll work through the bye. We'll work on fundamentals. Getting on the winning track is what we intend to do."

While the 24-13 defeat to Minnesota was a slight improvement from Week 1, the Bears needs wins and not moral victories.

"Fighting the whole game to get it to where we had a chance to win it and then losing it in the end," said Jauron. "We made improvement from the first week, but it's not (enough) you're looking for wins in our business."

The Bears offense ran just 43 plays, something the team must improve on in order to keep the defense off the field and working toward the ultimate goal.

"You know we need to play better, we need to constantly improve," Jauron said. "I thought some of young players improved; they took a step up. Kordell played more consistently. But, all that being said you have to score more than 13 points. You have to stay on the field. Defensively we've got to get off the field."

The Bears defense allowed Minnesota to hold the ball for nearly ten minutes on a 16-play 93-yard drive.

On the bright side the Bears didn't turn the ball over until Chris Chandler tried to force a ball into double-coverage in the final two minutes of the game. A far cry from the five turnovers the Bears had at San Francisco.

Kordell Stewart had to leave the game on the team's final drive of Sunday's game because of a neck strain, which he suffered when he hit his head on Aaron Gibson's leg. However, the injury isn't considered serious.

"I think Kordell will be fine," Jauron said.

Whether or not the Bears will be is a different story.

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