Benson, who fumbled on Chicago's previous possession, was hurt
with 1:16 to in the opening quarter when he was tackled after a
4-yard gain. After staying on the ground for several minutes as
trainers stretched out his knee, Benson got to his feet and walked
Benson later left the sideline for the locker room and an
announcement was made just before the half that he would not
return, dealing the Bears' running attack a blow.
Harper played in the first half with a sprained left ankle and
had not practiced since hurting it against New England in the AFC
Tight end Ben Utecht also left early in the third quarter after
taking a big hit on a 9-yard reception. The team said he bruised
his ribs and was questionable to return. Bryan Fletcher replaced
him in the lineup.
The Bears' first-round pick in the 2005 draft, Benson gained 647
yards this season and often spelled starter Thomas Jones, giving
the Bears a 1-2 punch in the running game.