Bears

Do Bears, NFL teams really need two RBs to win Super Bowl?

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Do Bears, NFL teams really need two RBs to win Super Bowl?

Best guess for the 2015 Bears offense is that head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase will not only establish a credible run game, but also one built around two running backs. It’s what Fox has always done, even with Peyton Manning as his quarterback.

But whether reaching a Super Bowl is contingent upon a run game with two backs carrying the football at least 100 times each is an interesting what-if.

Teams over the past decade have won Super Bowls without going a meaningful two-deep at running back. But only with either a Hall of Fame quarterback or a historic defense.

[MORE: Look for Bears return to two-back basics under Fox, Gase]

The New England Patriots won the last Super Bowl with zero backs netting 100 carries. But they also had four with 60 or more carries, and Tom Brady.

The Seattle Seahawks won the previous one with only one 100-carry back. But it was Marshawn Lynch (301), Russell Wilson (96) and Robert Turbin (77) combined for 173 carries, the Seahawks ran the football 52 percent of the time, and they fielded a defense ranked No. 1 in yardage and points allowed, by significant margins.

The 2010 Green Bay Packers had only Brandon Jackson (172) with 100 carries. But like New England, they had something of an offsetting edge at quarterback.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

As for GM Ryan Pace’s perspectives, he was with 2009 New Orleans Saints who won a Super Bowl riding Drew Brees. But the Saints still ran the football on 45 percent of their snaps and also had two 100-carry backs — Mike Bell, Pierre Thomas — in addition to Reggie Bush with 70.

When the 2006 Indianapolis Colts defeated the Bears in Super Bowl XLI, they had Manning but also handed the football to Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes a combined 413 times.

The Bears got to that Super Bowl with a defense bordering on historic before Tommie Harris’ season-ending injury in game 11, and with 453 carries by Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson. They got to their only other Super Bowl with a historic defense, and even with Walter Payton carrying 324 times, Matt Suhey also had 115.

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

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USA TODAY

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

The great Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Talladega Nights hit a little too close to home for the Bears in Week 7.

They came into Sunday at 3-2 at the top of the NFC North. After a 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots, they dropped to the bottom of the division.

The Detroit Lions defeated the Miami Dolphins 32-21 to improve to 3-3, leaving them tied with the Bears in the cellar.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 37-17 victory over the New York Jets jumped them to 4-2-1 overall and first place in the division over the 3-2-1 Green Bay Packers, who were off for their bye week.

The NFC North remains the most tightly contested division in the NFL, the only one with no teams under .500 through seven weeks of the season.

The final standings may not be decided until Week 17, and the Bears have already blown the early season cushion they built for themselves while the Vikings and Packers were struggling.

The divisional action will pick up in November, and Chicago only has a pair of games left to put it all together before back-to-back-to-back games against the Lions, Vikings and Lions again.    

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

Matt Forte, Lance Briggs and Alex Brown join Laurence Holmes to break down the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots. What happened to the Bears defense over their bye week, and how did the special teams struggle so bad against New England? Plus – the guys debate Mitchell Trubisky’s decision making in the red zone and Matt weighs in on how the Bears should play his former team – the New York Jets – next week.

0:35– Special teams to blame for loss?

4:12– Where did the Bears pass rush go? 

5:27– Bad tackling followed Bears from Miami

7:25– Are the coaches to blame for the defense after the bye?

10:10– Evaluating Mitchell Trubisky’s game

11:55– Agree with Matt Nagy on Mitch’s “mental” game?

13:30– Trubisky’s red zone decision making

17:10– Are the Bears giving away games so Mitch can learn?

18:00– Bears need to run the ball more

21:04– Matt Forte scouts his former team, the New York Jets

Listen to the full podcast here or in the embedded player below.

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