O-line Does a Complete Turnaround

CHICAGO - Thomas Jones knew exactly where to lay the credit for his 139 rushing yards on 20 carries in Sunday's 38-6 Bears win over the Detroit Lions.

"The offensive line did a great job," Jones said. "Any time a running back has a lot of yards and has a great game, the offensive line is probably 85 to 90 percent of the reason.

"We have a great relationship. The offensive line held their blocks and gave me enough time to get backside or front side, whatever it may have been."

Coach Lovie Smith echoed Jones' sentiments after the Bears had averaged 5.1 yards per rush and had runs of 18, 16, 15 and 22 yards by Jones and 13 and 19 Cedric Benson, who gained 49 yards on 16 tries.

The effort came only one week after the Bears managed only 41 yards rushing in the opener against Washington.

"We really challenged our offensive line this week and they really stepped up," Smith said. "Of course, great running by Thomas Jones, great running by Cedric Benson when he got in, but it was all made possible by a great effort on the offensive line."

The effort led to a 33:12-26:48 time-of-possession edge and 187 net rushing yards, their most since the next-to-last game of the 2003 season. It came against a defense that had held Green Bay's Ahman Green to 58 yards in Week 1.

Center Olin Kreutz and guards Ruben Brown and Terrence Metcalf had to handle the strength of the Lions defensive front, tackles Shaun Rogers and Dan Wilkinson.

"When you're running the ball like that, obviously Metcalf and Ruben Brown were blocking their butts off," Kreutz said. "Whenever you run the ball like that the running backs are running hard, you've got the receivers blocking and the fullback is hitting his guy.

"Everything has to be working in order to run the ball like that."

Tackle Fred Miller cited the home-field edge. Last week, linemen thought they had trouble hearing snap counts and changing blocking schemes at the line of scrimmage due to Washington fan noise.

"We were at home, so it was a lot easier to hear the snap counts and be on the same page and communicate with one another," Miller said. "That's the whole thing about being a good offensive line. You've got to be able to communicate where you're not turning guys (tacklers) free and not giving running backs an opportunity to make plays."

Kreutz thought the noise came into play only a little. The main problem in Week 1, was simply that it was Week 1.

"It was some of that last week the Redskins threw everything at us," he said. "It was our first real game in this system and some adjustments that we should make without any calls (at the line), we don't make.

"Coming into this week after last week, after seeing everything, everybody knew their adjustments already. We played a little better today and we just have to keep getting better."

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