Bear Facts

The running game has been the only constant for the Bears this season.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: A cohesive offensive line has allowed for Chicago's ground attack, which ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing yards per game after the first three weeks of the season, to become more potent during the season to now rank 17th averaging 109.7 yards per game. Starting with the return of RG Chris Villarrial to the starting lineup vs. Green Bay (9/29), the o-line has started the same five players in each of the last eight games (LT Mike Gandy, LG Steve Edwards, C Olin Kreutz, RT Aaron Gibson). The statistics provide an indication of the improved cohesiveness of the unit as the bears are averaging 120.3 rushing yards per game over the last eight, an NFL top-12 worthy figure, after a 67.5 average in the first two games. During those first two games, the Bears were still trying to cope with the loss of starting LG Rex Tucker for the season in the preseason finale and the temporary loss of Villarrial in the season opener. Chicago's o-line has also improved its protection, allowing 15 sacks over the last seven games (2.1 pg) after allowing 13 in the first three contests (4.3 pg).

RUSH OF SUCCESS: With 1,097 rushing yards on the season, the Bears have the NFL's 17th-ranked rushing attack. Chicago's ground proficiency this season was highlighted by a season-high 200 yards vs. Oakland on Oct. 5, the first 200-yard rushing game for the Bears since Dec. 16, 2001 vs. Tampa Bay. Chicago also ranks 18th in the NFL with 269 overall attempts, is tied for 13th at 4.1-yards per rush attempt and is tied for 14th with eight rushing TDs.

BOOK CATCHES UP ON THE CHARTS: With five catches for 60 yards against the Rams, Bears wide receiver Marty Booker led the team in receptions for the second consecutive week after returning from three weeks on the sidelines (ankle) at Detroit (11/9). Booker has grabbed at least a share of the team reception-lead in four of seven games played this year while leading in receiving yards for the third time. Currently fourth on the Bears in receptions with 25 and second in receiving yards with 293, Booker passed James Scott (3,202 from 1976-80, ‘82) for ninth place on the franchise all-time receiving yardage list on Sunday as his yardage total against St. Louis gives him 3,262 for his career. Next up for Booker is the 3,550 yard-total of Dick Gordon who earned his eighth-ranked total on 238 catches from 1965-71. Booker is 289 yards from passing Gordon.

ONE BOOK AT A TIME: Marty Booker stands to move up at least one spot on Chicago's all-time receptions list this season as he has spent the entire year ranked sixth on the chart, but is nearing Neal Anderson's fifthplace total. Booker now has 25 catches on the season, giving him 288 for his career and leaving him 15 grabs from passing Anderson's total of 302 from 1986-93.

BOOKER GAINING GRABS: Marty Booker continued his drive to becoming the model of consistency among Bears receivers all-time with his four catches against the Rams on Sunday, extending his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception that ranks second in franchise history. Booker has now caught a pass in each of the previous 52 games in which he has played. On Oct. 12 at New Orleans, Booker passed Hall of Fame tight end Mike Ditka for the second spot in Bears history at 50 games. Bobby Engram currently holds the team record with at least one catch in 57 straight games from Oct. 6, 1996 to Sept. 17, 2000. Booker began his streak the week after Engram's ended, catching five passes for 56 yards vs. Detroit on Sept. 24, 2000 after being inactive the week before. The Northeast Louisiana product is now on pace to break Engram's team record in the 2003 season-finale at Kansas City on Dec. 28.

WHITE HOT LEADER: Bears wide receiver Dez White tied for second on the team with four catches for 39 yards including an 11-yard TD grab in the fourth quarter against the Rams to remain the team leader in all receiving categories this season. The fourth-year man leads the Bears in receptions (39) and receiving yards (446) and is one of two Bears with a team-high two receiving TDs. White has led the team in receiving yardage in four of 10 games this year while holding at least a share of the lead in receptions on four occasions.

PLEAD THE FOURTH: Chicago converted one of two fourth-down attempts on Sunday and dropped to a tie for third in the NFL efficiency rankings in the category at 80.0 percent. The Bears have converted 8-of-10 fourth down situations this year. Chicago is tied with Green Bay while Kansas City is perfect on one attempt and Carolina has converted 6-of-7.

BIG-TIME PLAYERS: While Marty Booker and Dez White were Chicago's top big-play threats last season in terms of number of plays of 20 or more yards with 20 and 13, respectively, rookie Justin Gage is vying to be at least a feared third option with his play so far this season. Activated for just the last four games, Gage is tied with Booker for the team lead with five catches of 20 or more yards out of seven receptions so far in 2003. Booker caught his fifth of the year with a 24-yard gain against St. Louis and White has three plays. A fifth-round draft pick, Gage opened eyes with a key 21-yard catch at Seattle (10/19) in his first career game. With a leaping 37-yard grab and a 21-yard TD vs. Detroit (10/26), Gage earned his first career start vs. San Diego on Nov. 2 and validated it with a 24-yard reception on the first play of the game. Gage added a 28-yard reception later that game and with a 16-yard catch at Detroit (11/9), leads the Bears with an average of 21.7 yards per reception.

CLARK'S LOFTY COMPANY: Ranked second among Chicago's receiving corps in receptions and receiving yards on Sunday was tight end Desmond Clark who hauled in four passes for 44 yards, including a 27-yard catch that setup a TD. Including the team-high six catch performance by Dustin Lyman vs. Detroit on Oct. 26, Bears tight ends have led the team in receptions in three games this year with Clark turning the trick twice. Clark, with 28 catches (3rd on team) and 280 yards (3rd) this season, is currently on pace to be the first Chicago tight end to catch 40 passes in a season since Ryan Wetnight caught 46 for 464 yards in 1997 and could become the first to catch 50 since Mike Ditka caught his Bears-tight end record 75 passes for 867 yards in 1964.

TIGHT GRIP: The Bears retained possession on their only fumble of the game against the Rams and have now gone five games without losing a fumble since tying a season-high with two lost fumbles at New Orleans on Oct. 12. Chicago's current streak without a lost fumble is the franchise's longest since the 2000 Bears went five games without losing a fumble (10/1 at GB through 11/5 vs. IND). The Bears were playing a Rams team that had forced 24 turnovers over its last six games (4.0 pg) and even though Chris Chandler threw two interceptions, Chicago won the turnover battle 3-to-2.

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