Bears Notebook

Kicker Paul Edinger found himself in the unlikely position of making the first pass of his career -- NFL or otherwise -- when he threw toward defensive lineman Israel Idonije on a fake field goal in the second quarter. The pass was picked off by Aaron Glenn, but wound up having the effect of a punt with Houston taking over on its own 17.

"There's three options," he said. "Throw it to the tight end, to Brad (Maynard, the placement holder) or throw it downfield to Izzy," Edinger said. "Both those (first two) guys were covered and I saw Izzy break. So I stopped.

"I didn't have anywhere to run, I didn't think. There were some bigger guys in front of me. So I threw it to him. He almost made a play. It would have been a great play, but it didn't happen."

Edinger said next time he might look off his receivers more.

"But it ended up being just like a punt," he said.

Lovie Smith said he never entertained thoughts of dumping

Chad Hutchinson in favor of Jeff George despite struggling to a 17-of-34 day with an interception.

"He's the best quarterback that we have," Smith said. "That's why. Please don't try to blame this all on Chad. Chad was running for his life, a lot of pressure was on him at times.

"He was competing hard. He gives us the best chance to win, period."

Two more sacks of Hutchinson allowed by the Bears brought their season total to 55, equaling the franchise record set in 1969.

"We have to protect Chad better," Smith said. "Once you have problems with protection, you have a couple options. You can keep more guys back in protection, but still, it comes down to being able to make the play.

"Sometimes that just means blocking the guy over you."

The Bears picked up their second safety of the season when Adewale Ogunleye and Tank Johnson forced David Carr into a third-quarter intentional ground penalty in the end zone.

"We had a blitz called and it called for us to get immediate outside pressure and for us to contain," Johnson said. "Wally (Ogunleye) flushed him to me and I hit him out of bounds (as he threw) and we got a safety."

Linebacker Joe Odom suffered a sprained neck and left the game. . . . Reserve safety Cameron Worrell suffered a sprained right ankle and left the game. . . . There were 17,763 no-shows. . . . Punter Brad Maynard had three punts downed inside the 20-yard line, making it the fifth time in his career that he's had at least 30 inside the 20. . . . The game was the 11th coldest in Bears history and seventh coldest Bears game in Chicago. The coldest on record was Dec. 18, 1983, against Green Bay. The temperature was 3 degrees that day with a wind chill of minus-15.

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