Bears’ run defense can probably use Ratliff’s help

Posted Tuesday, Dec. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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It sounds like Jay Ratliff is itching for more action with the Chicago Bears, not necessarily for payback against the Dallas Cowboys.

“It’s just another game,” he told Chicago reporters this week. “It’s just football. I don’t get caught up in all that silly rivalry stuff, or some payback. The thing is, we’re here to win, and we’re going to give every effort to do that.”

Bears coach Marc Trestman said Ratliff did not want to come off the field last week against Minnesota, when he played 23 snaps and recorded one assisted tackle.

“I heard him come off a couple times and say, ‘Let me stay in my rhythm,’” Trestman said. “He felt he was mixing it up in there. So we felt pretty good that he’ll be able to play much longer this week.”

The Bears can only hope Ratliff, a four-time Pro Bowl player with the Cowboys, can help their run defense. It is the worst in the NFL, allowing 153.6 yards a game. Last week, Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson ran for 211 yards.

The Bears allowed 246 rushing yards to the Vikings. The week before, they allowed 258 on the ground to St. Louis. Over the past six games, the Bears have allowed an average of 205.2 yards.

No. 1 pair

The Bears have the most productive pair of receivers in the NFL, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, each in the 70-catch range. There are 24 teams that don’t yet have a 70-catch receiver, including the Cowboys.

Marshall has 78 catches for 990 yards, averaging 12.7 yards per catch, with nine touchdowns and is on the verge of his seventh consecutive 1,000-yard season. Jeffery has 70 catches for 1,109 yards, averaging 15.8 a catch, with five touchdowns.

Last week, Jeffery broke his own team record for yards in a single game with a 249-yard performance against the Vikings. He had set the record against New Orleans earlier this year.

“It’s a great achievement, but at the end of the day, it is a team sport,” he said.

Key number

27.7 Points allowed per game by the Bears, 28th in the NFL. It puts them on pace to give up 443 points, their most in at least 25 years.

Quote board

“It went OK for the first game. I mean, it was kind of to be expected. First time in pads in over a year now, since Nov. 18 of last year. So it was a good start. There’s nothing else to do from here but build.” — Jay Ratliff on his first game with the Bears

Special teams

Place-kicker Robbie Gould was co-holder of an NFL-record streak of 12 consecutive field goals made from 50 yards or more until he missed a 66-yarder last week. He and his counterpart in last week’s game, Blair Walsh, shared the record. Walsh missed from 57 in the game.

Injury update

• Quarterback Jay Cutler might try to practice Thursday as he recovers from a sprained ankle.

• Linebacker Lance Briggs, out since October with a shoulder fracture, is close to being able to practice.

• Right guard Kyle Long left last week’s game with an ankle injury but is expected to play Monday.

• Safety Major Wright sat out last week after a hamstring injury in practice. Craig Steltz had a team-high 12 tackles in his place.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

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