Trestman was hoping for more balance

After calling for 51 passes and 8 runs (1 a kneel-down) in the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Lions, coach Marc Trestman sounded as if he were determined earlier in the week to find a more equal distribution in his play-calling against the Cowboys on Thursday night.

“We've got to get some more balance in our football,” Trestman said. “Part of that is to be able to run the ball, not just more effectively but to allow it to be in balance with the other things that we do. We've got tremendous targets outside.”

In the first half of Thursday night's loss to the Cowboys at Soldier Field, the Bears threw the ball 13 times and ran on six plays, plus a kneel-down by quarterback Jay Cutler at the end of the half.

Entering Week 14 running back Matt Forte was sixth in the NFL with 78 receptions, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was tied for 13th with 67, tight end Martellus Bennett was tied for 15th with 65 and wide receiver Brandon Marshall was 24th with 58. Forte was also eighth in rushing yards with 828.

“We've got three tremendous targets, and we've got a very good running back, and we've got to continue to work to try to balance all that out, and we get an opportunity to do that this week against the Cowboys,” Trestman said. “It won't be easy but it will be something we're looking forward to — the challenge of doing that.”

Sack man:

Former Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton leads the Cowboys with 5 sacks.

Although he isn't a starter, Melton's a key member of the Cowboys D-line rotation.

“They play him in spots,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “He's doing a lot of the things he did early last year before he got hurt. He's running to the football. He's playing hard. He certainly loves to rush the passer and use his quickness to do that. He's played well.”

Melton suffered a torn ACL in Week 3 last year, his last season with the Bears, but in the two previous seasons he had a combined 13 sacks and went to the Pro Bowl after the 2012 season.

“We want to see him be a productive player,” Trestman said. “(But) we want to try to limit that production certainly.”

Filling in the gaps:

The Bears started the same O-line configuration Thursday night for the second straight week — only the third time that's happened all season.

For the most part, it's been a revolving door for the Bears' offensive line this season as injuries have been responsible for utilizing seven different combinations.

Quarterback Jay Cutler was asked if the lack of cohesiveness has affected him.

“It has but it hasn't,” the diplomatic Cutler said. “Those guys have done a really great job. You put seven different combinations out there, and things are going to happen; it's only natural. Overall, those guys have done a great job week-in and week-out of putting together a group that's going to compete.”

But Cutler has already been sacked 29 times. Last year he was sacked 19 times in 11 games. He's on pace for 40 sacks, which would be second most of his career and the most since his second year with the Bears (2010) when he was sacked 52 times.

Injury update:

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall suffered a rib injury on his 15-yard reception in the second quarter and was take to the hospital. Marshall later tweeted, “Thanks for the Prayers. I'm Good.”

Middle linebacker D.J. Williams was evaluated for a concussion in the second quarter but returned. Chris Conte (back) was injured in the third quarter and did not return.

Sitting it out:

Thursday night's inactives were: Kicker Robbie Gould (right quadriceps), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (knee), linebackers Darryl Sharpton (hamstring) and Khaseem Greene, guard-tackle Eben Britton and defensive end Cornelius Washington (chest).

Jay Feely, who was signed a day earlier, started in place of Gould.

Rookie Will Sutton started for Ratliff for the fifth time this season.

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