Jones in Search of a Repeat Performance

Lake Forest - Winning in Lambeau is a tough task, but Thomas Jones will play a key role in taking the Metrodome crowd out of the game early.

Jones picked up 152 yards on 23 carries, and when the offensive line wasn't opening up gaping holes, he made yardage on his own with quick cutback moves.

He put an early cap to the game with a 54-yard run on the opening possession of the second half, which set up his own one-yard TD run that put the Bears ahead 21-3.

Offensively, the Bears want to stick to the ground, where they rolled up 182 yards in Green Bay last week. Ball control is even more important this week, since coach Lovie Smith wants to keep his injury-ravaged defense - and the Vikings' offense - off the field as much as possible. Jones will continue to be the featured player. He is averaging 25.5 touches per game, and that's where the Bears want him.

The Vikings defense ranks fifth against the rush, but they haven't faced a back as talented as Jones.

Rex Grossman will have to be more of a factor than he was in Green Bay. Only one wide receiver caught a pass vs. the Packers, and Grossman completed only 10 passes all day, but he threw just 18.

The Minnesota passing defense ranks 26th in the league. However establish Jones early will give Grossman a chance to use the playaction pass.

News & Notes
-- In 2003, Pro Bowl MLB Brian Urlacher wasn't involved in a single turnover. He had no interceptions, he forced no fumbles, and he recovered no fumbles. But against the Packers, it was Urlacher who forced the fumble that Mike Brown returned 95 yards for a touchdown, creating a 14-point swing in the Bears' favor.

Urlacher and Mike Brown have played 66 straight games together, every single one since they were drafted in 2000 in the first and second round, respectively.

But that streak will end Sunday against the Vikings. Brown will miss the remainder of the season with a ruptured Achilles.

"I love winning, and this is a big win, but I'd trade the win for having Mike Brown back next week," Urlacher said after the 21-10 victory over the Packers. "You can't replace that guy. It hurts; it sucks. We've been together since I've been here, we work out in the off-season together. It's frustrating, disappointing. It's bittersweet."

--Coach Lovie Smith promised after Week One that the Bears would be much improved after getting flagged nine times for 95 yards in the season opener, and his team delivered. The Bears didn't commit a penalty until less than 10 minutes remained in the Packers game when offensive tackle John Tait was whistled for a false start. For the game, the Bears were penalized twice for 15 yards, while the Packers were penalized six times for 50 yards.


Bear Report Top Stories