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Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange

--The Bears also lost their 14-year-veteran long-snapper Patrick Mannelly in Sunday's victory over the Chargers.

Mannelly was placed on injured reserve Monday and will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured ACL in his left knee, which he suffered on an extra-point attempt in the second quarter.

Mannelly has played in a franchise-record 215 games, including the last 147 straight. He had missed only three games since joining the Bears as a sixth-round pick out of Duke in 1998. He missed two games in 2002 with a knee injury and one game in '01 with a sprained ankle.

Fullback Tyler Clutts stepped in as the long snapper after Mannelly was hurt Sunday. It was the first time he had snapped for a punt since high school. The Bears have already begun their search for a full-time replacement for Mannelly and are expected to hold tryouts Tuesday.

--With inexperienced Caleb Hanie replacing Jay Cutler at quarterback, the Bears are expected to rely more heavily on the running of Matt Forte and Marion Barber.

"I think it will help a lot," coach Lovie Smith. "We'll lean on it even more. We've had over 30 rushes (per game) for a period of time now. We have a great player in Matt Forte. Our offensive line is playing well."

The Bears have run the ball more than 30 times in each of the past four games, and they've averaged 31 rushes over the past seven games. But the run game has bogged down the past two weeks, the line's best run blocker, right tackle Gabe Carimi, is on injured reserve as is left guard Chris Williams.

Through 10 weeks, the Bears were 13th in rushing yards and ninth in average gain per run. But they managed just 93 yards on the ground Sunday on 32 attempts for a 2.9-yard average. A week earlier against the Lions, the Bears had 109 yards on 35 carries for a 3.1-yard average.

--Caleb Hanie takes over a 7-3 team that's on a five-game winning streak and has scored 30 or more points in three straight games and six times in 10 games this season.

"Caleb is pretty excited about the opportunity," coach Lovie Smith said. "When you're the backup you want to get a chance, not under these circumstances, but you want to get an opportunity to prove what you can do, and he realizes what's at stake, too. We have a good football team and he's going to do his job to keep it moving."

--Twice in a game this season the Bears' defense has had five sacks, but it has a total of just eight sacks in the other eight games combined, and it didn't have any Sunday.

"I haven't been disappointed in our defensive play overall," coach Lovie Smith said. "I like the way our defense finished (Sunday). There were some plays we would like to have back that we'll correct. But does the defense need to step up? We all need to step up our game, and we will."

The Bears are tied for 26th in sacks with 18 and are 31st in sack percentage. Opponents have thrown 421 passes against the Bears, the most in the league.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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