Benson Not the Workhorse Bears Envisioned

Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson was supposed to be a superstar back in the league, but in his first season as the featured back he hasn't had many big games. That's not likely to change to against the Vikings' No. 1-rated rush defense.

Cedric Benson's season-low 15 carries (for 50 yards) last week is not the direction the Bears want their running game headed. Benson has topped 50 yards just once this season, when he rushed for 101 yards against the Chiefs on 24 carries.

"We definitely want Cedric to get more than 15 carries," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said.

Critics have suggested that Benson might be more effective if he ran with a chip on his shoulder, but he doesn't agree.

"I haven't deciphered like, under what conditions, hot or cold, sunny or dark, whether I run better or not," he said. "But I don't think it's all that necessary to be mad at somebody. It's just a matter of turning the ship around and just doing it. It's tough to put into words, you just have to go out there and crank it up."

The Bears did go to Benson more often against the Packers, but the numbers weren't much better, as he finished with 64 yards on 27 carries.

But because the Bears stuck with Benson, it opened up other avenues of the attack, including the game-winning TD pass.

"The big thing was we ran the football well," quarterback Brian Griese said. "That set up some play-action passes."

  • Turner was hoping to get rookie tight end Greg Olsen more involved after he failed to catch any passes last week, and it was mission accomplished Sunday night as Olsen led the Bears with four catches and was second with 57 yards.

    "It's exciting to finally get in there and have them call my number," said Olsen, whose 19-yard TD catch in the third quarter pulled the Bears to within 20-17. "The offense really stepped up tonight when we needed to."

    Olsen's 27-yard catch helped set up the game-winning TD pass to Desmond Clark.

    "This was the first week we really featured him," Griese said of Olsen. "He made some plays. He's definitely a talent."

  • After four games, the Bears had 16 sacks and were tied for the league lead with the Giants, but that wasn't resulting in much success.

    "It doesn't matter," said defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who had three of the sacks. "We're 1-3. It's not helping. We're 1-3."

    Defensive coordinator Bob Babich was pleased with the early returns on the pass rush, but not the big picture.

    "The only stat we care about," Babich said, "is wins and losses."

    The Bears got to Brett Favre just once all night, for a four-yard loss, on Harris' fourth sack of the season, tied for team best. But they intercepted him twice.


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