Kahlil Bell makes most of his chance

Bears running back Kahlil Bell ran for a career-best 121 yards on Sunday night. AP Photo/Mike Roemer

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Third-year running back Kahlil Bell made a strong statement Sunday night that he needs a larger role in the Chicago Bears offense in 2012.

Starting in place of the injured Matt Forte and Marion Barber, Bell ran for a career-high 121 yards on 23 carries while also catching four passes for 38 yards.

"First time he carried the ball at Soldier Field (2009 against Philadelphia) he had an impressive run and he has [run well] every time he's gotten an opportunity," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "Kahlil can do everything you want a good running back to do. He can run with power, he can make you miss in the open field, he can catch the ball out of the backfield."

Before the game got out of reach, Bell and fellow Bears running back Armando Allen controlled the tempo of the game in the first half by averaging five yards per carry as the Bears won the time of possession battle in the first half 19:22 to 10:38.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't like running the ball," Bell said. "That's what I do for a living, so it was a good experience to get out there and find a rhythm and get the majority of the carries. I think we had a great game plan."

Bell, a restricted free agent after the season, figures to remain in the Bears’ plans moving forward, especially in light of Forte's contract situation and Barber's uneven play and his history of being injured.

"That's what this business is all about," Bell said. "Getting the chance to showcase your abilities. Tonight I had a good chance to get out there and play and try to make some plays for our team. It's just unfortunate we fell short."