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updated: 11/12/2012 8:45 PM

Bears need more than just Marshall

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  • Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall walks off the field after the Bears' 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday night.

    Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall walks off the field after the Bears' 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday night.
    Associated Press


Every week and in every NFL city there is an overreaction.

We like to believe it's just here in Chicago, but it happens everywhere.

Last week the Bears crushed a bad team that gave them the football seemingly every time they touched it, and the Bears were Super Bowl-bound.

Now, after losing to a good Houston team, the Bears might as well fold up the tent and call it a season.


The Bears are a good football team. They have issues, like every other team, but they're still a good football team that can win in the playoffs given health and fortunate matchups.

They weren't playing as strong as their 7-1 record before Houston, but their defense was stealing the football at a record rate and that makes the game look very easy.

The reality is their offense has been Brandon Marshall and little else, and man cannot survive on the spread alone. The Bears must run the football to be effective against good defensive teams.

They also need Alshon Jeffery back because Jay Cutler has nowhere to go but Marshall right now.

Kellen Davis was supposed to be Superman, but instead of being the Man of Steel, he's got hands of steel.

The next time Devin Hester is willing to take a hit to possess the ball will be the first this year.

And Earl Bennett is a rumor.

Still, the world has not come to an end. When the Bears get Cutler and Jeffery back on the field, the offense will be serviceable again and the defense will continue to play well.

It was an ugly loss to Houston, but the Bears remain in a solid playoff spot, heading to San Francisco for a big game against a conference foe in a battle of backup quarterbacks that may determine a first-round bye and home field in the postseason.

Lovie Smith fancies himself a football genius. This would be a good week to prove it.

The drive

Houston collected only 3 points off 4 Bears first-half turnovers, and it was 3-3 late in the second quarter when the Texans' strong offensive line blew the Bears off the ball on a drive that went 66 yards on seven plays, finishing with a 2-yard TD pass as Arian Foster beat Lance Briggs to the cone.

Most of those yards (53) came on the ground and on runs of 21 and 25 yards as the Bears were gashed. Those two big gains were really the difference in a 7-point game as the Houston line created space for Foster and Justin Forsett.

"(Foster) understands that system very well,'' Briggs said. "We knew they were going to stretch us. He was going to cut back and find lanes to run in.

"For us, guys didn't get stops on the back side. We were able to overcome that in the second half. They hit us a couple of times in the first half, and that hurt us."


The NFL investigated and quickly cleared the Bears of any wrongdoing in the handling of Jay Cutler, who remained in the game for seven plays after he sustained a concussion.

But you can hardly blame the Bears on this one. Cutler scrambled twice for first downs after it happened -- including a headfirst dive for the marker -- and he looked healthy.

A player will hide his symptoms as long as he can in hopes that his head will clear and he can stay in the game, knowing if he admits the problem he's going to miss the rest of that game and probably the next one.

That's what all players do. That's what Cutler did. You can't blame Lovie Smith or the Bears for that.

Just thinking

If Lovie Smith is going to taunt a dome team before the game about the terrible weather he loves so much, he might want to make sure his team doesn't turn the ball over three times in the first 14 minutes and then complain about the soggy conditions postgame.

Just offering

It would help if Devin Hester had just the slightest interest in making a special-teams play, but that would involve physical contact. So you can't count on that, and if teams figure that out they'll stop kicking away from him and field position will be much different.

Just waiting

If Tim Jennings was touched on that interception he ran in for a touchdown -- which was called back -- I'm still waiting to see it on a replay.

The stat

Houston came in third in the NFL in sacks (25), and the Bears' line didn't give up a sack for the first time since last Dec. 25 in Green Bay.

The stat II

The defense held 8-1 Houston to season lows in points (13) and yards (215).

The punch line

Brian Urlacher on Jason Campbell: "I thought he came in and did a good job for us."

And finally

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt: "That field was pretty beat up out there. It's tough to keep your footing, make cuts, things like that. No excuses. You've got to win that game, and we did."

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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