By Vaughn McClure
Tribune staff reporter
1:20 AM EDT, August 8, 2008
Both Bears running backs were solid Thursday night in a 24-20 exhibition loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field.
The eagerly anticipated debut of the rookie Forte resulted in a solid all-around effort. He carried the ball seven times for 25 yards, and added three catches for 10 yards.
He even threw in a solid block in pass protection for good measure.
"It was fun, everything I expect it to be," said Forte, who played a little more than a quarter.
"For the amount of playing time I got, I thought I did well. I felt comfortable out there."
Forte was on center stage, but Wolfe stole the spotlight.
The Northern Illinois and Holy Cross High School product scored on a 25-yard touchdown reception from Rex Grossman and also had the team's longest run with a 42-yard sprint down the left side. Wolfe finished with seven carries for 64 yards, leading the Bears to 175 rushing yards on 29 attempts.
Not bad for a guy who is supposed to be buried on the depth chart.
"Just as there are people who want me to succeed, there are a lot who don't want me to be here," Wolfe said. "I want to continue to show the people within the organization who want me to be here that I do belong. I think did a little bit to help myself tonight."
No matter how Wolfe performs during exhibitions, Forte remains the Bears' guy. He ran strong up the middle and showed a burst after catching a short pass from Kyle Orton.
While curious eyes followed Forte's every move, there was even more attention paid to the quarterback battle between Orton and Rex Grossman.
Orton completed 7 of 10 passes for 56 yards, was sacked once, fumbled once and had a quarterback rating of 83.8. His fumble kept the Bears from scoring a touchdown, but the eight-play, 19-yard drive still ended in points as Robbie Gould converted a 42-yard field goal.
Grossman completed 4 of 8 passes for 44 yards, including the touchdown to Wolfe, and had a passer rating of 106.2.
As for Forte, he now carries the burden of the Bears' rookie class after first-round pick Chris Williams underwent surgery on a herniated disc in his lower back. The procedure was done Wednesday night and it is unclear how long Williams will be sidelined.
Arguably, the most impressive new face was third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie.
The undrafted rookie free agent from Colorado State shook off a couple of shaky passes and ran the offense smoothly.
Hanie, a Texas native who threw for 2,455 yards and 18 touchdowns at Colorado State last year, lofted a pass only rookie tight end Kellen Davis could catch for a nice gain, then found receiver Brandon Rideau in the end zone for a 13-yard score.
Rookie defensive tackle Marcus Harrison battled down a pass by Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard late in the first half.
Veteran receiver Brandon Lloyd, who signed a one-year deal with the Bears in the off-season, hauled in a 19-yarder near the sideline off a sharp pass from Grossman.
The Bears' defense was strong early, outside of allowing Larry Johnson to bust up the middle for a 5-yard score.
The defense, however, looked vulnerable at the end of the first half, when the Chiefs drove 75 yards in eight plays for a score on Huard's 8-yard pass to Maurice Price.
Safeties Kevin Payne and Brandon McGowan were late in coverage during the drive, and cornerback Trumaine McBride was left helpless when Huard found Maurice Price for an 8-yard score.
Linebacker Rod Wilson made an impression in a reserve role, picking off a pass to set up Grossman's touchdown to Wolfe.
Gould also had a 37-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, the last points for the Bears, who outgained Kansas City 362-337 for the night.
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