Running Tab

CHICAGO -- Bears running back Thomas Jones isn't sure who will quarterback the team on opening day. He only hopes it's someone who can provide a passing attack to complement his running.

"It's big time,'' Jones said of the importance of a good passing game in relation to the running game.

"Look at Edgerrin James look at most of the majority of the guys who have the most yards. They have a quarterback that can at least be efficient and make consistent throws and make the easy plays.''

Jones did a fairly good job of gaining yards without the aid of much passing Friday night in the Bears' 16-12 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Jones gained a preseason-high 94 yards on 14 carries, including a 40-yarder that set up their first three points in the first half.

The Bears continued their preseason trend of strong rushing nights overall as Adrian Peterson contributed 49 yards on 10 carries and the team outrushed Buffalo 143 yards to 78.

"I was pleased with our running game,'' coach Lovie Smith said. "Thomas Jones has really played well. We like him and Adrian Peterson for our running game.''

Jones has made it easy for the Bears to negotiate with holdout running back Cedric Benson from a position of strength.

He has averaged 5.3 yards a carry and has 184 yards on 35 carries and hasn't given Benson a second thought.

"Honestly, I'm excited about football, period,'' he said. "I don't get into all the politics and all the other stuff. That's part of the game but I keep it strictly football.''

Jones does know that he wants to see a stronger passing game. He said the 40-yard run he made and some of the others Friday came about because just a few passes took the Bills out of an eight-man defensive front, thereby opening some running lanes.

"Once you can make the easy plays and get a 6-, 7-, 8-yard gain on a pass, the defense doesn't really know what you're going to do,'' he said. " Then the next time you run the ball the safety is out of the box and you can bust a long run.

"We completed a couple passes and that backed some of the guys out of the box and we were able to hit a couple good runs. We had the defense kind of on their heels.''

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