ONE BOOK AT A TIME: Marty Booker also 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 fifth place total. Booker now has 29 catches on the season, giving him 292 for his career and leaving him 11 grabs from passing Anderson's total of 302 from 1986-93.
BOOKER GAINING GRABS: Marty Booker continued his drive towards becoming the model of consistency among Bears receivers all-time with his four catches against the Broncos 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 last 53 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.
SLASH TO THE RESCUE: Chicago was led to victory on Sunday when quarterback Kordell Stewart took over for injured Chris Chandler in the second half at Denver and led the Bears to scores on two of their first three drives. The Bears trailed 10-9 in the third quarter when Stewart took his first snap and guided the team to a TD and a FG on 7-of-15 passing for 47 yards while rushing eight times for 29 yards and a one-yard TD, his second of the season. Chandler had completed 8-of-18 passes for 79 yards before injuring his throwing (right) shoulder in the second quarter. The comeback by Stewart came one-day shy of one year since Chandler was forced out of the game with an ankle injury vs. Detroit (11/24) at Memorial Stadium and Jim Miller came in to lead the Bears to a 20-17 OT win.
PLEAD THE FOURTH: Perfect on three attempts on fourth down on Sunday at Denver, including a one-yard touchdown plunge by relief quarterback Kordell Stewart, the Bears now lead the NFL with a 84.6 percent fourth-down conversion rate. Tied for seventh in the League with 13 attempts on fourth down, but tied for first with 11 successful conversions, the Bears have scored one-yard TD runs on fourth down in each of their last two games.
TIGHT GRIP: For the second consecutive game, the Bears retained possession on their only fumble of the contest against Denver and have now gone six 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 losing a fumble is the franchise's longest since the 1992 Bears went seven games without a lost fumble (9/21 vs. NYG through 11/8 vs. CIN). Sunday's affair, played between two teams with negative turnover margins on the season (Denver, -3 and Chicago, -5), was the first Bears game without a turnover by either team this season.
RUNNING FOR CLOUD NINE: The team-high 60 rushing yards by Bears running back Anthony Thomas on Sunday gives the third-year back 2,625 for his career and moves him within 154 yards of passing Hall of Famer Bronko Nagurski (2,778 from 1930-37, 43) for ninth place on the franchise's all-time list. On Nov. 9 at Detroit, Thomas moved past Bobby Douglass for sole possession of 10th on the ledger. Douglass, the Bears all-time rushing leader among quarterbacks, rushed for 2,470 yards from 1968-75. Thomas, the third-fastest Bear ever to rush for 2,000 career yards, began the season ranked 17th all-time in Chicago's rushing annals.
TRAIN ON TRACK: Despite being limited to his third-lowest rushing output of the season on Sunday, Anthony Thomas has been Chicago's top offensive weapon throughout 2003 and leads the team with 721 rushing yards on 168 carries and four touchdowns despite missing two games due to a foot injury. Thomas is currently tied for 16th in the NFL in yards on the ground, boosted by a four-game stretch (9/29 vs. GB through 11/2 vs. SD) during which he averaged 110.0 yards per game and fell four-yards shy in one game of having four-straight 100-yard outings. The third-year back also ranks tied for 16th with a 4.3-yards per carry average and 17th in carries.
SEARCHING FOR 100: For the first time in four occasions this season, the Bears won on Sunday while featuring five ball carriers. The combination of Anthony Thomas, Kordell Stewart, Stanley Pritchett, Bobby Wade and Chris Chandler totaled 106 yards on 33 carries against the Broncos to give the team its second five-man, 100-yard rushing game of the season (Sept. 29 vs. GB). Thomas has gone three games without reaching the century plateau on his own, last doing so in his return to the Chicago starting lineup vs. San Diego on Nov. 2 after a two-game injury hiatus. In that contest, Thomas produced his third 100-yard game of the season and the first two-TD game of his NFL career with 111 yards and a pair of one-yard scoring runs among a season-high 31 carries.
Michigan's all-time record holder with 22 games of at least 100 rushing yards in college, now has done so on eight occasions as a member of the Bears with his second-highest rushing total of the season.
RANKING SUCCESS: With 1,203 rushing yards on the season, the Bears have the NFL's 18th ranked rushing attack in terms of yardage. 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 302 overall attempts and is tied for 16th (with Arizona) at 4.0-yards per rush attempt. The Bears are also tied for 12th with nine rushing TDs.