Edwards helps pave way for Jones' big day

GREEN BAY, Wis. _ Bears running back Thomas Jones enjoyed his second best day as a pro with 152 rushing yards in Sunday's 21-10 win over the Green Bay Packers.

It all could have been very difficult to achieve if not for a strong relief effort from one of Chicago's very own. Guard Steve Edwards, who played for Mount Carmel, stepped in at right guard for injured Mike Gandy and helped pave the way for Jones like the starter that he was last year.

``I just know in these situations I've got to be ready,'' Edwards said. ``That was the case coming into the season. I knew I was going to be backing up. I just had to watch the game and be prepared to go in.''

Edwards hadn't taken any snaps at guard throughout training camp.

``It was all at tackle,'' he said.

He took some snaps last week at left tackle with starters because starting left tackle Qasim Mitchell missed practices due to funeral services for his father, who died late the previous week following a stroke.

``Of course I started at guard last year so I felt comfortable,'' he said. ``I'm just everywhere. But definitely playing guard all last year helped me step in.''

He was starting left guard last year, though. Sunday, Gandy left in the first quarter with a pulled hamstring so Edwards played a position he really didn't know well.

``Steve Edwards came in and played awesome,'' Bears tackle John Tait said. ``That's hard to do. All week it's me and Mike Gandy (on the right side). All the sudden, Steve has to step in and he plays great. He's our utility man. He plays almost every position except center.''

The Bears' offensive line gave up only one sack of quarterback Rex Grossman, and that came from a blitz on the side of the line away from Edwards. They ran for 182 yards on 35 carries as a team.

``We just wanted to establish the run game,'' Edwards said. ``They run a lot of blitzes and stunts and stuff like that. We just wanted to gut them -- pick up the blitzes and hurt them. We did that.''

Jones' speed combined with the blocking to thwart the Packers' blitzing tactics. The 152 yards he gained were the most by a Bears running back since Anthony Thomas gained 160 on 33 carries in the Bears' 2001 season-finale against Jacksonville.

``Most of the time it was me getting a great hole from our line,'' Jones said. ``Their defense was moving around a lot. So there were some holes and I was able to find them.''

Jones' biggest run was behind right tackle Tait and Edwards on a third-and-one, 54-yard gallop that set up his own third-down TD plunge of 2 yards in the third quarter for a 21-3 lead.

``On the long run the, defensive backs were out of position and I was able to get out in the open field and run,'' Jones said.

Jones had 72 yards rushing on that series.

``That's the type of series you expect me to come in and get,'' Jones said. ``Every running back expects that because obviously you have had series like that in your career just to get to the NFL.''

It's also the kind of series a back expects when they get blocking like the Bears' offensive line gave him Sunday.


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