Benson Has Unfamiliar Seat

CHICAGO - Bears first-round draft pick Cedric Benson accepted his inactivity without complaint in Sunday's 24-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Benson didn't play after getting 16 carries the previous game.

"I'm not going to get down about it or get upset about it," Benson said. "Just take in stride and keep rolling.

"I guess today wasn't my day. I'm not making the calls. Coaches are. I stayed positive even in the end."

Bears coach Lovie Smith didn't want the rookie in a situation where he was going to have to pass protect. The Bears had to pass after falling behind, and Benson missed training camp so his understanding of pass blocking assignments remains suspect.

The Bears even put third-string back Adrian Peterson in during the second half ahead of Benson for a short time because he is more familiar with the pass blocking assignments.

"It was just the circumstances of the game," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "We had planned on playing him, hoped to play him."

Smith also said he thought the running game got into a rhythm with starter Thomas Jones and he didn't want to disrupt it."

"I didn't think the timing was right at the time," Smith said. "Cedric, of course, is a good football player. But Thomas was running the ball well. I was pleased with what we were able to do running-wise. It wasn't just the right time to get Cedric in."

After being the most productive running back in the nation his final year at Texas, Benson is finding inactivity a strange situation.

"It's a little bit unnatural," he said. "You want to be out there, especially when a team loses. You think you could have made a difference.

"But my time will come."

Jones' fourth rushing TD of the season -- a 2-yarder for the Bears' only points -- was his sixth in the last four games. He gained 106 yards, the fourth time in five games he's gone over 100 yards.

Jones also caught more passes than any Bear on the day, with five receptions. He gained only 8 yards on those five catches.

"Obviously I think I did my job; I ran for over 100 yards," he said. "I ran hard, I blocked well. I didn't have many missed assignments. I felt like the running game was pretty effective."


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