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Bears vs. Lions: Chicago needs balance, not just Brandon Marshall

Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall has put up big numbers this season, but the Chicago offense has been one-dimensional.


Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been having a career year, setting personal bests in receptions, yards and touchdowns with one game still to play in the regular season. But as CSN Chicago's John "Moon" Mullin writes, Marshall's success shows how one-dimensional the Bears' offense has been.

Mullin declared earlier in the season that if Marshall finished the year with 100 catches, the Bears' playoff chances would be in doubt, believing a heavy workload for the wide receiver would mean an unbalanced offense. As it turns out, he was right. The Bears are 9-6 and need a win and a Minnesota Vikings loss this weekend to claim the NFC's final Wild Card spot.

And if Marshall was getting that much of the offense, it quite likely meant that other receivers were not producing and, more important, the Bears had gotten away from Matt Forte, which they have, to no one's benefit.

Marshall has caught 113 passes for 1,466 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012, topping his previous career highs of 102 catches for 1,325 yards in 2007 and 10 touchdowns in 2009. Marshall ranks second in the NFL in receptions and yards, and he is tied for third in touchdowns.

But as Mullin predicted, Marshall's success hasn't been reflected in the Bears' overall offensive production. Chicago is No. 28 in the league in total offense, averaging just 305.3 yards per game. The Bears are 29th in passing and ninth in rushing, averaging 183.6 and 121.7 yards per game, respectively.

With their slim playoff hopes on the line, the Bears travel to Detroit to face the Lions Sunday. Kickoff is set for noon CT, and the game will be televised on FOX.