What Went Wrong?

As much as Terry Shea wanted to bring a Kansas City-style offense to the Bears when he joined the organization last year, the Chicago offense bears little resemblance to the high-powered attack that the Chiefs put on display nearly every week.

The Bears have been nearly comatose on the offensive side of the ball since QB Rex Grossman went down with a knee injury Sept. 25 vs. Minnesota. The proof of their ineptitude - they rank 32nd in total yards, passing yards, yards per play, yards per pass play and third-down performance - has been on display throughout the year.

How inept has the Bear pass offense been this year? QB Chad Hutchinson leads the team in passing yards (732), completions (72) and attempts (132) even though he has started just four games this year. The Bears average 137.1 passing yards per game -- ranking dead last in the NFL.

WR David Terrell has the team's only two 100-yard receiving games this season. Terrell caught five passes for 126 yards in the opener vs. Detroit and caught nine passes for 116 yards in the 19-9 loss to the Eagles on Oct. 3.

But the Bears may try to change their offensive persuasion in the season finale against the Packers. Chicago has nothing to lose and a win over the Packers would give them their first season sweep in the series since 1991. It would also give them their first home win over Green Bay since 1993.

Since sweeping the Packers would be a very positive development for this organization, look for the Bears to open up their offense. "We'll let it fly," Shea said. "But we also have a good thing going with Thomas Jones and the running game and we have to make sure we don't lose sight of that."

The Bears just might be able to get both aspects of the offense in gear. Green Bay ranks 26th in the league at defending the pass - allowing 235.1 yards per game through the air. Jones is coming off a 109-yard effort Dec. 26 at Detroit and goes into the finale with 840 rushing yards this season. If he could reach 160 yards against the Packers - Jones rushed for 152 yards at Green Bay Sept. 19 - he will become the 10th Bear to register a 1,000-yard rushing season.

That figure no longer carries the luster it once did, but it would solidify the commitment the Bears made when they signed Jones in the offseason and made him their No. 1 running back. On an offense that was very disappointing, Jones was one of the few positive aspects.

Jones has also been a solid receiver for the Bears, catching 53 passes. If he can catch one more pass this week, he will become the all-time receiver among Bear running backs. He is currently tied with Walter Payton, who caught 53 passes in 1983. Jones is quite pleased to be in Chicago and believes the team can turn it around in the future.

"I love the team and the offense," Jones said. "We've just had some misfortunes this season - a lot of injuries. With the players we have coming back next year, we will have a good team."


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