Found October 01, 2011 on Bears Backer:

The Bears have struggled mightily converting third downs as of late. A lot of it has to do with penalties and just not being a disciplined team.

According to STATS, the offense leads the league with 16 three-and-outs. Also, in the 39 offensive series the Bears have had, they have punted the ball after three plays 41 percent of the time.

“To me, three-and-outs are the worst thing in football next to turnovers,” offesnive coordinator Mike Martz said earlier this week. “That’s the worst thing. I hate three-and-outs with a passion.”

Last Sunday the Bears faced third-and-10-or-more on seven of 12 attempts, including a third-and-33. They converted only 3 of 12.

“We’ve got to convert on third down. That ties into the rest of that stuff,” Cutler said. “Those third-and-longs, at the end of the day, we’re not going to be able to convert a high rate of those.”

Tomorrow against the Panthers the Bears will need to be able to put together manageable third downs. If they can’t they could be in for another long day.

A big advantage that the Bears should capitalize on is with Matt Forte and Marion Barber in the backfield. If they can find a way to use them both on the field at the same time, that could be the way this offense improves.

Barber and Forte are both good backs and having them on the field together could benefit the whole offense.

It will be interesting to see how the Bears respond in this must win game against Carolina. The clear cut key for this offense is having manageable third downs for them to convert. A Matt Forte-Marion Barber tandem could be the recipe for a victory.

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