Bears needing balance in more than just run-pass ratio

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Bears needing balance in more than just run-pass ratio

An overriding point last offseason was adding weapons on offense, making it impossible for teams to stop the Bears by stopping Matt Forte. Beyond the obvious lack of touchdowns, something is still not working, however.

The balance expected with Mike Tices ascension to the job of offensive coordinator was missing against Carolina, when the repeated failures of running plays in the second half plus the methodical piling up of field goals by the Panthers led the Bears to abandon the run game. After averaging 7.6 yards per carry in the first half, Forte on second half carries gained 1, 2, minus-2, 1, 2, 2 and 3 yards on his seven runs.

But in the wider analysis, Forte (20) and Brandon Marshall (14 targets) accounted for nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of where quarterback Jay Cutler placed the ball. Cutler threw the ball as many times to Marshall as he did to all other players combined.

Against the Detroit Lions, Forte and Marshall accounted for 53 percent of the touches on 69 plays run. Forte had 22 carries in both the Jacksonville and Detroit games.

I think when you have a special player like Forte, of course we need to get him the ball more. And well try that, coach Lovie Smith said.

But you can say that about a few of our players. We need to get them the ball more. But when you have an offensive day the way we did three-and-outs, a couple of turnovers you take a lot of plays away, where you cant get as many touches from some of your marquee players as youd like.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”

2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 25 of 27 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.