Nothing changes an offense more than a quarterback switch, but the Chicago Bears have been able to rely on the consistent production of Pro Bowl running back Jordan Howard.
As a rookie last year, Howard rushed for 1,313 yards, and his exceptional 5.2-yard average per carry was second best among qualifying runners. He's fourth in the NFL with 662 rushing yards this year and is on pace for 1,324 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per carry with a team-best 4 touchdowns.
"He's been very, very productive," coach John Fox said. "We've leaned a little bit on our run as a football team, much like last year. We'll continue on that path. (But) we can get better in those areas (because) we've had some negative runs that we want to get cleaned up."
The Bears' offense is No. 4 in rushing yards and No. 9 in average gain per run, but just 31st in passing yards and 28th in average gain per pass.
"The biggest thing we've stressed (are) things to do better in the passing game," Fox said. "With making a change in the quarterback (after four games), those are the areas that we spent a lot of time on offensively."
Rookie Tarik Cohen has added 228 yards on 54 carries (4.2-yard average) and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has 110 yards on 15 runs (7.3-yard average).
Best to forget:
Bears coach John Fox would just as soon put the Zach Miller TD-catch/no catch debacle in his rearview mirror.
Fox said he did not see the league's video explanation of why Miller's apparent TD was overturned.
"Again, we've kind of moved on," Fox said. "I won't look at the video anyway because of the nature, not just the catch, but of what happened. Their ruling is what their ruling is. I knew that, however many hours ago that was, days ago. So I really don't get into rehashing. It doesn't change anything."
The Bears submitted the play for review, though, so Fox was asked if he'd heard back from the league.
"Yeah, numerous times," he said. "But the score's still the same, and the outcome's still the same."
Missing the points:
The Bears are tied for 30th in field-goal percentage, as kicker Connor Barth has converted just 7 of 11 attempts (63.6 percent).
"I call it 'points team,' and unfortunately on 4 of the occasions it didn't turn out to be points," coach John Fox said. "It is what it is, and he understands that. We all do, and (points) are at a premium.
"You drive the ball down there, you want to come away with points, and on four occasions, unfortunately, we haven't."
Barth has missed twice from 47 yards, once from 48, and he had a 52-yard attempt blocked. Over his 10-year career, Barth has converted 83.1 percent of his FG attempts.
Taking a break:
In addition to players, who are off until Monday, because of Sunday's bye, coaches also have some time off following Wednesday's short practice and meetings,
"It's been a long half-season for coaches, too," coach John Fox said. "Obviously we don't take the physical beating the players do, but (coaches) have put a lot into it and spent a lot of hours. We did a lot of self-scouting things over the last three days, and they're going to get the same break as the players."
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