One Man Show

Thomas Jones is trying to accomplish something no Bear running back has done in the past 14 seasons.

Currently ranked ninth in the NFL -- fourth in the NFC -- in yards from scrimmage with 636, Jones has led the Bears in rushing all five games this season. He's also pacing the squad in receptions in two of those contests. Jones ranks fifth in the NFC with 458 rushing yards and is tied for 15th with 23 receptions for 178 yards to lead Chicago in both categories.

The last player to lead the Bears in rushing yards and receptions in the same season was Neal Anderson in 1989, when he rushed for 1,275 yards and caught 50 passes, both career-highs.

Jones' rushing total is only two fewer yards than the entire Bucs' team, which ranks 30th in the NFL. Jones played for Tampa Bay last season before signing a four-year $10 million deal with the Bears as a free agent.

KEY MATCHUPS
QB Jonathan Quinn vs. DE Simeon Rice

After throwing for only 65 yards and getting sacked four times last week, Quinn has to show some signs of life in moving the offense. If he continues to struggle -- the Bears have 13 three-and-outs the last two weeks, rookie Craig Krenzel will relieve Quinn of his duties.

Rice is still one of the game's best pass rushers and he'll be going after a guy who doesn't move well in the pocket and has no confidence. The Mt. Carmel product could cause havoc and force Quinn into mistakes -- something he's good at.

RB Thomas Jones vs. LB Derrick Brooks
Tampa's run defense is 21st in the league and Jones has been having his way with everybody. With the way Quinn has been playing, the Bears have to establish the running game. It starts with Jones, who could have a field day against his former team.

The Bucs are struggling on offense, but their All-Pro linebacker leads a stout defense, which is ranked fourth in the league against the pass. The Bucs will be keying on Jones, since Quinn hasn't proved he can move the chains in the passing game.

BY THE NUMBERS
The last time the Bears started a No. 3 QB against the Bucs, the infamous Henry Burris, they were shut out 15-0 in the season finale in 2002. Burris completed 7 of 19 passes for 78 yards with 4 interceptions before being yanked.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"It's not a distraction. The NFL is all about competition, and I think it's good." -- QB Jonathan Quinn talking about splitting practice reps with backup Craig Krenzel.

THE SERIES
The Bears have won 33 of 49 all-time meetings with the Buccaneers, including three of the last four. The Bears/Bucs rivalry has provided little drama on the scoreboard over its 29 years with only 15 of the 49 games played between the two teams decided by a touchdown or less. The trend has held true recently as only six of the last 18 games have been decided by less than a TD.

INJURY REPORT
* Bears: OUT: S Bobby Gray (groin), CB Charles Tillman (knee), DE Adewale Ogunleye (leg); QUESTIONABLE: DT Alfonso Boone (knee); PROBABLE: C Olin Kreutz (elbow), LB Brian Urlacher (hamstring), G Ruben Brown (knee), FB Bryan Johnson (knee).

* Buccaneers: OUT: WR Joey Galloway (groin), DT Ellis Wyms (shoulder), WR Charles Lee (knee); QUESTIONABLE: FB Greg Comella (chest), QB Chris Simms (shoulder). PROBABLE: DT Anthony McFarland (groin).


Bear Report Top Stories