No Moral Victory for Passing Game

While the Chicago Bears are starting to make things happen in the passing game, it won't matter if the D can't slow down the opponent. Greg Olsen and Earl Bennett were talking after a 41-21 loss to Arizona.

Under normal circumstances, a three-touchdown performance would give players reason to celebrate. But for the Bears' Greg Olsen, his achievement seemed almost secondary to his frustration at the team's 41-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

"It's great that I got the scores," Olsen said after the game, "but what was really most important to me was that we win the game. Since that didn't happen, I guess I'm more frustrated than joyful right now."

Olsen was part of the Jay Cutler-driven offensive scheme that ended up with 347 passing yards and 70 more on the ground.

"I feel from week to week that we are progressing as an offense," Olsen said. "But until we get the wins, it isn't that much of an achievement."

The Bears had hoped that Sunday's game would be a statement for the local fans after a mediocre effort against a struggling Cleveland Browns team last weekend. That wasn't the case, as Chicago was blown out of its own building 41-21 by Arizona.

"Sure, we wanted to come out here and do well," Olsen said. "Don't think that we didn't hear the fans booing as we got into the third quarter. There is a definite pride factor when you are playing at home. It's your territory, and you want to defend it. To feel as if we gave this game away really hurts."

Criticism of offensive coordinator Ron Turner's overall approach this season has been rampant among fans and local football experts. Turner himself feels that although the team is clearly a work in progress, things are headed in the right direction.

"Jay is becoming more comfortable at the quarterback position," Turner said in the locker room. "We have good results from a number of wide receivers. The running game is developing and, as evidenced with Greg's play today, we are pleased with tight end production. I see things improving as the season goes on. We aren't where we want to be yet by any means, but we are progressing week to week."


WR Earl Bennett
Getty Images: Jonathan Daniel

Another frequent Cutler target, receiver Earl Bennett, agrees with Turner but wishes the team had more to show for its efforts at this point in time.

"We're at the halfway mark right now," Bennett said. "Sure, I wish that we were 8-0, but that just hasn't happened. The key, in my mind at least, is not to get frustrated. That leads to fast decisions that perhaps aren't the best decisions. You never want to feel that you are under pressure when you are out there."

The Bears are now 4-4 on the season, while the Cardinals moved to 5-3.

Bennett had catches Sunday that went for 29 yards, 21 yards and 20 yards. He had a total of seven receptions for 93 yards. Olsen had five receptions for 71 yards, with the longest play a 33-yard grab for a first-quarter touchdown.

"I think all of us just wanted to be out there more making things happen," Olsen said. "I guess that will come with time, but the sooner the better as far as I am concerned."

After a short week of practice, the Bears head to San Francisco to face the 49ers on Thursday night. Both Olsen and Bennett are more than ready.

"I'd go out and play them tonight just to get the bad taste out of my mouth," Olsen said. "I think the shift in focus from this game to the next so quickly will be to our advantage."

Bennett agreed:

"It's not so good for our guys who are injured, but I think that for the rest of us getting the opportunity to go out and play again make things right will be a positive. This is a good team, a strong team, and we certainly hope to demonstrate that fact later this week."


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Beth Gorr has been covering the Chicago Bears for eight years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.


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