Jones Reaches Personal Milestone

Chicago - While Thomas Jones might not have notched enough yards to reach a total of 100 in today's game, his 93 yards were enough to push him over the 1,000 mark for the season, a fact that seemed to delight the usually reserve running back.

Jones kept his peace after the Bears drafted Cedric Benson with the fourth overall pick in the draft, but did allow himself to comment briefly about that roster move after setting a new career high in rushing yards.

"It was difficult at the time," Jones said. "But although I was very aware of the situation, I tried not to dwell on it. I needed to move on mentally."

Although definitely unanticipated and perhaps somewhat unwelcome, Benson's addition to the roster convinced Jones to take his game up a notch.

"Benson's appearance in a way was a positive thing for me," Jones said. "I knew I had to contribute. I felt that I had to prove myself, to demonstrate my value to this team. I hold nothing personally against Cedric at all. He's a good hardworking player who wants the best for this team, but I wasn't entirely happy with my sense that I'd have to fight for my starting spot in the lineup. But the end result was that I played just that much harder."

The Bears have also gotten a contribution from Adrian Peterson.

"He's in there grinding out the yards making the plays when we need them," Jones said of Peterson. "I like having that counterpart as it takes some of the pressure off of my game."

Despite having no support from the passing game, Jones has been able to average 91.4 yards rushing in 11 starts. The production has had to come with defenders often on the line of scrimmage.

"I never felt that I was incapable of turning in a strong performance, but I did feel the pressure to come out and get significant yardage every time I played," Jones said. "The end result was that I went over the 1,000 yard make relatively early in the season."

There are still four more regular season games for Jones to add his totals. He's on pace to finish with more than 1,350 yards rushing, which would be the highest amount since Walter Payton rushed for 1,551 yards in 1985.

Jones is also quick to point to the men up front when talk of the Pro Bowl comes up.

"I can't forget to mention the efforts of the offensive line in this success," Jones said. "They're in there and they play hard from the first quarter right through the end of the game. They make the holes I am able to get through. It's a complete team effort."

Jones has never played in the postseason and is also looking forward to adding that to the list of achievements in 2005.

"It's exciting, you know, to be a part of this," Jones said. "People had pretty much written us off when Rex (Grossman) went down earlier this year. I think the team showed strength of character to come back and to get these wins. Look at the record. It's one of the best in the NFL right now. 9-3. Some of those games we might not have won by much, but we did come out on top. In the end, its the final score that counts."

VETERAN'S CALL
Referee Larry Nemmers made one of the more unusual personal foul calls in the first half against Bears defensive tackle Terry Johnson after a Brett Favre completion.

Johnson tackled Favre just after he threw an 18-yard completion and fell on him.

Nemmers tacked on 15 yards and said Johnson had "used his weight to punish the quarterback."

"I hit him and when we fell he looked at the ref and I looked at the ref and the ref threw the flag," Johnson said. "I was like, 'awwwww, that's a little late. That's a late call.' But you get that when you're playing against a legend like Brett Favre. It's fun to even get close to him, but it stinks that I got a penalty.

"But using my weight on him? What is that? Punishing him with your weight. If that's how it is, Brett Favre gets his own calls. I'll live with that. He's (been in the league) 15 years and he's proven."

INJURY REPORT
Starting free safety Chris Harris suffered a right knee sprain and left the game in the first half. He was replaced by Mike Green, who was baited into a pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter by Donald Driver. Coach Lovie Smith said more on the injury's severity would be known today.

Strong side linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer suffered a right thumb injury, but had it wrapped and returned to the game.

The Packers lost tight end Bubba Franks early in the game due to a stinger. He had been an injury question due to a concussion suffered last week.


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