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Silver lining ... or red herring?
By Lindsey Willhite | Daily Herald Staff

Chicago tight end Greg Olsen celebrates his first touchdown with Devin Hester during first half.

 

Rick West | Staff Photographer

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Published: 11/8/2009 8:23 PM

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For one moment, forget how badly Arizona pounded the Bears on Sunday.

Choose instead to cling to this all-time red herring of a factoid:

Four Bears caught at least 70 yards' worth of passes during the 41-21 loss to the Cardinals at Soldier Field.

The last time the franchise accomplished this feat, way back on Nov. 14, 1943 in a 56-7 win over the New York Giants, the Bears went on to capture the NFL championship.

Feel free to compare and contrast the Sid Luckman era - when the Bears thrilled the nation with their T-formation - with the Jay Cutler era that finds the team falling behind so far and so fast, they have no choice but to throw the ball all over the place.

Cutler either threw a pass, scrambled for a gain or suffered a sack on 54 of the Bears' 63 snaps Sunday.

That imbalanced diet isn't healthy for anyone, much less a Type I diabetic.

"It's tough, it's tough," Cutler said. "We try to mix in some running plays and some quick screens to the wide receivers. But when you're down, you have to get some chunks of yards and some scores and have to do it quickly."

Nonetheless, tight end Greg Olsen delivered a career day as the Bears turned a 31-7 halftime rout into a manageable 34-21 deficit with 9:04 to go.

Olsen, in his third year out of Miami, caught 5 passes for 71 yards and 3 touchdowns. He entered the day with 10 career touchdowns, but never more than 1 in a game.

Olsen became the first Bear to secure 3 touchdown receptions since Marty Booker in 2001 - and the first Bears tight end since Greg Latta in 1975.

Earl Bennett added a career-best 93 yards on 7 catches, Devin Hester posted 94 yards on 6 catches and Matt Forte contributed 74 yards on 6 grabs.

"Maybe we can take a little bit of positives out of the second half, on both offense and defense," Olsen said. "And kind of use that to spring us forward on Thursday night against another tough NFC opponent (San Francisco)."

The Bears rang up 417 total yards, which represents the high-water mark for the year and the fourth-best total of Ron Turner's second go-round as offensive coordinator.

See?

Yet another reason to be optimistic about the Bears, especially after Turner displayed some anger when his offense kept making mistakes last week against Cleveland.

"We played better," Turner said. "I thought we did some good things and all that kind of stuff. But if you don't win, you don't play well enough to win."

Cutler came out and threw on eight of the Bears' first nine plays from scrimmage, but don't consider it to be a new Turner mindset.

"A couple of them we had runs called and they were in an eight-man front and we checked it (into a pass)," Turner said. "Several of them were, actually - depending on what we got, if they were going to play eight in the box.

"We wanted to run it some but, again, it was based on what they were giving us."