AL HAMNIK: No offense, but Bears content to do it their way

2012-11-10T17:00:00Z 2012-11-11T22:02:04Z AL HAMNIK: No offense, but Bears content to do it their wayAl Hamnik Times Columnist
November 10, 2012 5:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO | OK, so just who are these Bears?

Their special teams are certainly that, and more.

They have a brass knuckles defense through the first eight games, but have struggled to score points.

Forget their 29.5 points per game. Seven return touchdowns and a league-leading 28 takeaways figure heavily in that statistic.

Despite an arsenal of weapons, the Bears are ranked 25th overall on offense, 29th in the passing game, and that frustrates fans to no end.

Their quarterback is Jay Cutler, striving to join the NFL's elite passers. His favorite target is Brandon Marshall, who's like human flypaper when it comes to sticking to the ball.

Too much of a good thing, like ice cream or a drawer full of Snickers bars, can be bad for you, however.

Heading into tonight's box office showdown with the Texans, Marshall has been the Bears' only true offensive weapon with 59 catches and seven touchdowns.

Matt Forte, averaging only 13 carries a game, is the team's No. 2 receiver with 20.

Cutler, whom fans want to believe is the franchise messiah, must prove himself in prime-time games.

At the moment, the jury is still reviewing evidence that includes his 8-2 record on Monday Night Football and a 1-5 mark on Sunday Night Football.

So, once again, just who are these Bears?

"We're not gonna catch the defense. It's not gonna happen. We're eight, nine games behind 'em," Cutler said. "We've just got to focus on ourselves. Every guy has got to get a little bit better every day at practice.

"By the end of the season, we'll be back."

Makes you wonder. Is the defense playing out of its skulls or does the offense lack a rhythm and is coordinator Mike Tice overwhelmed?

When its pulse rate does speed up, it's usually in the second half.

"A lot of (Marshall's) catches have come in the third, fourth quarter when we've got the lead and he's (covered) one-on-one," Cutler said.

Takeaways and a short field are also reasons for that.

"I don't care how we start. It's all about how we finish," said Marshall, who usually avoids cliches.

He says when Forte is "rolling," if that's possible at 13 carries per game, it's like a five-hour energy drink for Cutler and the wide receivers. It opens up everything.

"At the end of the day, it's not the Bears' defense taking us to the playoffs and not the offense. We're a team," Marshall said. "But you have to give credit where it's due. Our defense is playing lights out right now and making it easier for everyone."

Can the offense catch up in time? Maybe. Look what the New York Giants did a year ago.

"We're not gonna look like the New England Patriots or New Orleans Saints' offense. We're the Chicago Bears' offense," Marshall said. "We scored 37 points last week (at Tennessee).

"We have great receivers. We have one of the best running backs. We have one of the best quarterbacks, one of the best 'closers' in the game. We have passionate coaches. We're the Chicago Bears and that's how we're gonna win games."

Good luck then. You'll need it.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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