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updated: 12/3/2012 8:12 PM

Bears' offense needs other WRs to step up

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  • Brandon Marshall fumbles but was able to recover for a 34-yard gain in the first quarter Sunday at Soldier Field. Marshall finished with 10 catches for 165 yards.

      Brandon Marshall fumbles but was able to recover for a 34-yard gain in the first quarter Sunday at Soldier Field. Marshall finished with 10 catches for 165 yards.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Brandon Marshall makes a catch against Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) in the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. The catch was a key play in setting up a game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime.

      Brandon Marshall makes a catch against Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) in the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. The catch was a key play in setting up a game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime.
    Associated Press

  • Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown reception with teammate Brandon Marshall (15) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012.

      Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown reception with teammate Brandon Marshall (15) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012.
    Associated Press

 
 

Brandon Marshall already has 91 receptions for 1,182 yards, but the problem for the Bears is that he has more catches than the next four teammates combined and more yards than the next five combined.

Marshall's 10-catch, 165-yard effort Sunday was just the latest example of his dominance and the lack of help from teammates. All other wide receivers combined had 2 catches for 30 yards. Earl Bennett caught 1 pass for a 12-yard TD but left soon after with a concussion, joining Alshon Jeffery (knee) and Devin Hester, who was out with a concussion.

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Coach Lovie Smith agrees the injury situation and lack of healthy complements at wide receiver is a concern.

"We've been saying that for a while," Smith said. "Someone needs to (step up), and I think the guys will say that. We still have time. Hopefully, we'll get Alshon Jeffery back. He has wanted to move into that role when he has been healthy.

"Hopefully, we'll get Devin Hester back in the mix, and we're getting plays from Earl and guys like that. Eric Weems (1 catch, 18 yards) did some good things."

Standing pat:

On Sunday, Brandon Marshall gave a shout out to free-agent buddy Mike Sims-Walker when the topic of diminishing numbers at the wide receiver position came up.

"There are guys that are hungry," Marshall said. "You have Joe (Anderson), a guy on our practice squad, who works really hard. You have guys that aren't here; free agents that are hungry. Guys like Mike Sims-Walker, my best friend, my brother. So maybe he gets a shot."

Like Marshall, Sims-Walker played at Central Florida. The 6-foot-2, 212-pounder was a third-round choice of the Jaguars in 2007 and had back-to-back 7-TD seasons in 2009 and '10 but just 12 catches last season. Coach Lovie Smith didn't seem interested.

"We're going to go with the guys we have right now," he said. "We're going to get some guys back this week, and we'll be fine. I've got a lot of old buddies and stuff, too. I think Brandon feels pretty good about the guys that we have here that he's playing with."

Hard to handle:

Coach Lovie Smith was still at a loss Monday to explain the defense's season-worst yield of 176 rushing yards, with 71 coming from rookie quarterback Russell Wilson on just 9 attempts

"I wish I knew that, Smith said. "If I knew that, believe me, we would have done everything we possibly could to contain him. We contain most guys, but sometimes it happens like that. They're better than you on that day and that's how it was."

Wilson ran just once in the first half for 4 yards. But his 8 second-half carries produced 67 yards, an 8.4-yard average.

"We haven't played many defensive games like that at Soldier Field," Smith said, "and we won't play hopefully anymore."

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