The Bears will try to register their first win of the season and avoid setting a franchise record with their ninth straight loss Sunday when they host the Oakland Raiders at Soldier Field.
The Bears are 0-3 for the first time since 2003 after falling to the Packers, Cardinals and Seahawks, three 2014 playoff teams who combined for a 35-13 record last season.
|Kyle Long and the Bears will look for their first win of the season Sunday when they host the Raiders.|
The status of quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Alshon Jeffery remains unclear; both are listed as questionable for Sunday's game with hamstring injuries, meaning there's a 50 percent chance they'll play. Both players sat out last Sunday's loss in Seattle.
Cutler practiced on a limited basis Wednesday through Friday. He hasn't seen game action since Sept. 20 when he hurt his hamstring late in the first half of a loss to the Cardinals.
Playing the first game-and-a-half of the season, Cutler passed for 345 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 78.5 passer rating. He guided the Bears to four TDs on 12 possessions, while replacement Jimmy Clausen has failed to produce any touchdowns on 19 drives.
Operating a run-oriented offense minus Cutler last Sunday in Seattle, the Bears punted on all 10 of their possessions and crossed the 50 only once in a 26-0 loss. It was the first time they had been shut out since a 15-0 defeat to the Buccaneers in the 2002 season finale in Champaign.
Regardless of who plays quarterback, Forte figures to remain a focal point of the offense. The two-time Pro Bowler entered Week 4 ranked second in the NFL in rushing with 276 yards. Forte needs 20 yards Sunday to become the 49th player in NFL history to run for 8,000 yards.
Left tackle Jermon Bushrod has been ruled out of Sunday's game with a concussion and shoulder injury. He will be replaced by Charles Leno Jr., Jr., a 2014 seventh-round pick from Boise State.
Defensively, four Bears players are listed as questionable for Sunday's game: Linemen Jeremiah Ratliff (ankle), Ego Ferguson (knee) and Will Sutton (elbow); and cornerback Alan Ball (groin).
The Bears' trade of Jared Allen to the Panthers Monday is expected to create more opportunities for outside linebackers Sam Acho, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young.
They'll face a Raiders offense that's powered by second-year quarterback Derek Carr, rookie receiver Amari Cooper and third-year running back Latavius Murray.
In last Sunday's 27-20 win in Cleveland, Carr passed for 314 yards with two touchdowns and a 115.9 passer rating, Cooper had eight receptions for 134 yards and Murray rushed for a career-high 139 yards and one TD on 26 carries.
"They're an explosive offense," Houston said. "They have three great young players who are carrying the offense right now, and they're winning ballgames."
Off to a 2-1 start, the Raiders are in quest of their first winning season since 2002 when they lost to the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. From 2012-14, Oakland compiled records of 3-13, 4-12 and 4-12 while winning just two of 24 road games.
Having allowed kickoff return touchdowns of 108 and 105 yards the past two weeks, the Bears on Tuesday bolstered their special teams by signing safety Chris Prosinski and linebacker LaRoy Reynolds. As teammates with the Jaguars, Prosinski and Reynolds were regular special-teams contributors.
The Bears trail the all-time series with the Raiders 8-7 but have won three of the last five matchups. Chicago lost the last meeting 25-20 on Nov. 27, 2011 in Oakland.
Raiders with connections to the Bears include offensive line coach Mike Tice, who spent three seasons in Chicago as line coach (2010-11) and offensive coordinator (2012); and tackle J'Marcus Webb, who started 44 of 46 games played with the Bears from 2010-12 after arriving as a seventh-round draft pick.
After Week 3, the Bears rank 28th on offense (tied for 6th rushing and 31st passing) and 11th on defense (tied for 28th against the run and 6th versus the pass). The Raiders rank 7th on offense (17th rushing and 7th passing) and 32nd on defense (13th versus the run and 30th versus the pass).