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'Surprise!' Coach Lovie Smith Irked By Texans Run Defense In Loss at Bears

The Chicago Bears had an historic day on the ground that left coach Lovie Smith irked by Houston Texans' run defense.

HOUSTON — Second-year quarterback Davis Mills took responsibility for the Houston Texans' 23-20 defeat to the Chicago Bears. But despite throwing a costly interception during the final minutes, Houston's horrid run defense also played a role in the Texans departing Soldier Field with a loss. 

"Is it a surprise we gave up that many yards? Absolutely," coach Lovie Smith said. "That's not how we've played. You can't do that. We're not set up that way. So a lot of things have to happen wrong for them to be able to get some of those plays."

Smith watched in frustration as Bears back-up running back Khalil Herbert tore the Texans apart. Following the loss of David Montgomery due to injury, Herbert rushed for a career-best 157 yards on 20 carries to go along with two touchdowns.

Herbert had several plays where he rushed for over 10 yards, but none more so than his 52-yard gain at the 11:25 mark of the third quarter. His play was one of several big chunk opportunities that left Smith annoyed.

Behind Herbert's production, the Bears finished the game with 281 yards on the ground — the most in franchise history since 1984. Herbert's play setup a touchdown drive for the Bears to take a 19-17 lead over the Texans. 

"It stings no matter who is carrying it from their side, especially on plays that were almost uncontested," Smith said. "We missed some tackles. Those big explosive plays, you can't win football games if you do that."

Herbert's 52-yard gain was not the only play that left Smith fuming. The Bears ran a jet sweep for wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown for 41 yards, while second-year quarterback Justin Fields scrambled up the middle for 29 yards — all in the first quarter that resulted in scoring drives.

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Ahead of their Week 3 match against the Bears, defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire said "population to the ball" will be a point of emphasis in hopes of slowing down Chicago's rushing attack. 

The message that Cesaire shared may have resulted in a missed memo for the Texans' front seven. 

"You've got to tip your hat to the Bears — they had a plan and executed up front," defensive lineman Jerry Hughes said. "Coach told us all week you've got to come in here and make these guys a one-dimensional team. Our secondary played great, but up front we've got to do exactly what the coach asks of us. We were prepped for it all week. We've got to come out here and just execute."

By leaning on their rushing attack, the Bears recorded 82 passing yards, with Fields attempting 17 attempts in the win over the Texans, who drop to 0-2-1 with the "surprise'' defeat.

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