Every time former Bear, and all around bust Cedric Benson takes a handoff for the Bengals today, he'll be carrying a grudge along with the ball. Benson, who was essentially kicked off the Bears two years ago, has something to prove.
"I know he's had this date circled for a long time," Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said. "When he was back in Chicago, he was a little worried we were cheap-shotting him. Now he can get revenge on everyone he thought cheap-shotted him in our training camp."
Benson is enjoying a breakout year with the Bengals, and the troubled running back would like to show everyone that the Bears made a mistake in how they handled him. Although he insisted he wasn't trying to get revenge, he says he's beyond that, this one is clearly special for him.
"It has a bit of significance for me personally," Benson said, "with the kind of history I had and the way things finished there."
Despite injuries to its linebackers, Chicago has been able to stop teams on the ground. No opponent has had a 100-yard rusher. Only two teams have run for 100 yards overall: Pittsburgh had 105, Seattle had 103.
The Bears' offense appears to be settling in behind Jay Cutler, who was obtained from Denver in a trade and had his first 300-yard passing game for Chicago last week during a 21-14 loss at Atlanta. Last week, the Bears gave him a two-year contract extension through 2013.
Cutler will have one advantage against the Bengals, because Cincinnati's defensive line was depleted by injuries last week. Sacks leader Antwan Odom tore his right Achilles' tendon, and Domata Peko severely sprained his left knee.