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Lovie Smith realizes Bears offense has to regain balance

Lovie Smith

Lovie Smith

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Updated: November 10, 2011 2:13PM

After the Bears had 12 rushes and 51 pass plays in their 30-13 loss Sunday to the New Orleans Saints, coach Lovie Smith sounded like he was going to nip that problem in the bud. It took eight games last year.

‘‘I know the balance as far as run/pass wasn’t there,’’ Smith said Monday at Halas Hall. ‘‘All I can say is we’ll get it better. We can’t win football games with that kind of balance.’’

Matt Forte gained 42 yards on his first six carries during the Bears’ first two drives. But one carry went for 42 yards. The other five netted zero. Though they trailed much of the game, the Bears were only down 16-10 early in the third quarter when they passed five consecutive times on a drive that ended with Robbie Gould’s 38-yard field goal that made it 16-13.

The Bears got the ball back, but after Kahlil Bell lost a yard on a rush, Jay Cutler went back to pass on second-and-11 and fumbled when he was sacked by Turk McBride. The Saints recovered, then scored a touchdown to make it 23-13. The Bears had one rush for no yards after that.

‘‘It happens like that sometimes,’’ Smith said. ‘‘We’ll clean it up.’’

Harris was missed

With Chris Harris out with a bad hamstring, Brandon Meriweather started at free safety, and Major Wright moved to strong safety.

‘‘We miss Chris a lot,’’ Meriweather said. ‘‘He’s one of the smartest guys on the defense. He can line people up. He’s like a crutch. Sometimes we depend on him when things are going bad. His leadership on the field is tremendous.

‘‘He’s a great guy and one of the better players I’ve played with.’’

The day after

Smith saw some bright spots when reviewing the game on tape but not many:

◆ ‘‘Still disappointed in how we played. When you go on the road against a good team, it’s always tough duty, but I thought we would play better. A lot of things need to tighten up.’’

◆ ‘‘We gave up too many sacks [six], but we didn’t give up any sacks until the second half, so there are some positive things we did early.’’

◆ ‘‘Defensively, we did some things, but we didn’t take the ball away enough. One takeaway isn’t going to get it [done].’’

◆ ‘‘And we’ve got to get more out of our return games. We had a couple of opportunities.’’

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