Bears still in no rush to win

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • The Bears' Matt Forte finds running room against the Saints Monday night at Soldier Field. The Bears ran 20 times in the game for 125 yards (6.3-yard average).

      The Bears' Matt Forte finds running room against the Saints Monday night at Soldier Field. The Bears ran 20 times in the game for 125 yards (6.3-yard average). Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/15/2014 11:38 PM

Going into Monday night's game, the Bears had plummeted to 26th in rushing yards and 23rd in average gain per rush.

As recently as Week 9, the Bears were a respectable 18th in rushing yards before rushing for just 55 yards on 24 carries in the 55-14 loss at Green Bay.

 

"We acknowledge the fact we haven't run the ball well enough," coach Marc Trestman said leading up to Monday night's game. "We haven't had the balance we need to have.

"We haven't been consistent in those areas. We continue to talk about them and address them and try to practice through them. We're hoping to make some headway."

In the previous seven games the Bears had just 144 run plays compared to 289 pass plays.

Through 13 weeks the Saints' defense was 29th in rushing yards and 30th in average gain per rush allowed, but they were equally as bad vs. the pass, ranking 30th in yards and 29th in average gain per play.

The Bears ran 20 times in the game for 125 yards (6.3-yard average).

On a roll:

With Brandon Marshall's production falling off even before he suffered season-ending rib and lung injuries against Dallas, Alshon Jeffery's numbers have spiked.

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Jeffery had scored a touchdown in each of the four games previous to Monday night, with a total of 5. In the same period, Jeffery had 29 catches for 323 yards, compared to Marshall's 19 receptions for 225 yards.

"I feel like his productivity has been better the last three to four weeks," coach Marc Trestman said of Jeffery. "I feel like he's come on in terms of making plays and doing some very good things. He's been probably healthier the last month than he's been during the course of the season."

In Jeffery's only previous game vs. the Saints, the Bears' 26-18 loss Oct. 13 last season, he had 10 catches for 218 yards and a touchdown, as the New Orleans defense focused more of its attention on Marshall.

Jeffery finished with 4 catches for 78 yards.

Person of interest:

Saints Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham had just 12 catches for 101 yards in the three games leading up to Monday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But in the Bears-Saints game last season, Graham caught 10 passes for 135 yards.

"It's tough to game plan a player like that," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "He's a dominant player, and we're going to have to move coverage around and do things up front to try to speed up the tempo in terms of (quarterback Drew Brees) getting rid of the football before (Graham) can get down the field.

"But he's going to be a problem with any team. Certainly, we're going to have our hands full with him."

Graham caught 2 first-half passes for a total of 10 yards before adding a 29-yard reception to ignite the Saints' touchdown drive on the opening possession of the second half. He finished the game with 5 catches for 87 yards.

Elite company:

Although he had played one fewer game, Martellus Bennett trailed only New England's Rob Gronkowski and Carolina's Greg Olsen in receiving yardage among tight ends heading into the Monday night game.

Gronkowski has 76 catches for 1,093 yards, while Olsen has 81 for 960. Bennett came in with 77 receptions for 821 yards.

Bennett already has eclipsed Mike Ditka's franchise record of 75 catches by a tight end, and Ditka is the only Bears tight end with more receiving yards than Bennett. Ditka has the top three totals in Bears history: 1,076 yards in 1961, 904 in '62 and 897 in '64.

Bennett had just 1 catch in the first half for 9 yards. He finished with 4 for 36 yards.

Sitting it out:

Monday night's Bears inactives were kicker Robbie Gould, safety Chris Conte (back), guard-tackle Michael Ola (back), cornerback Terrance Mitchell, defensive end Trevor Scott, defensive tackle Brandon Dunn and quarterback David Fales.

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