- Associated Press - Saturday, October 10, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Chicago Bears came away from last week feeling as if they’d turned a corner, an eight-game losing streak finally behind them after a heart-pounding victory over Oakland.

The Kansas City Chiefs felt the opposite, as if their season is slipping away.

The Bears will try to build on their modest momentum when they visit Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since 2003 on Sunday. They’ll be facing a Chiefs team in desperate need of a win after three straight defeats have relegated them to the AFC West cellar.

“Listen, there’s a sense of urgency every weekend. That’s the way it needs to be,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Whether it was the first week or this week, there’s no time to stall, if that’s even in your vocabulary. We’ve got to take care of our business.”

The Bears (1-3) finally did that last week against the Raiders.

They rallied behind Jay Cutler in the closing minutes for a 22-20 victory, made possible by Robbie Gould’s 49-yard field goal. It was their first victory since November, and the first since John Fox took over the beleaguered franchise prior to this season.

The biggest turnabout came on defense, where a team that had been gouged in losses to Green Bay, Seattle and Arizona was able to keep the Chicago offense within striking distance. The Bears are still allowing 31.2 points per game - tied with, ahem, the Chiefs for last in the league - but surrendered a season-low 243 yards last week against the Raiders.

“Winning has cured more ills than penicillin,” Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said.

The Chiefs (1-3) could certainly use a dose of it.

After a season-opening win in Houston, the Chiefs fumbled away a victory over Denver, then forgot to show up in Green Bay. Last week, they moved the ball well in Cincinnati but settled for a franchise record-tying seven field goals from Cairo Santos in a 36-21 defeat.

“We’ve just got to be better,” said Alex Smith, who has been sacked 19 times, more than any other quarterback in the league. “Bears defenses are a different challenge. So a little bit, you’re taking the things you learned last week but you’re moving forward. This is a new challenge this week and we’ve got to figure out how to beat these guys.”

While the Chiefs and Bears have played only sporadically over the years, there is a sense of familiarity. Fox has spent the past few years with Kansas City’s bitter rival, Denver.

“They always play hard and good, physical football,” Reid said of Fox’s teams. “From the time he was in New York, Carolina, all the different places, if you picked one ingredient that would be it.”

As both clubs try to avoid falling into a 1-4 hole, here are some things to watch:

CHARLES (NOT) IN CHARGE: Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is among the league leaders in yards rushing despite carrying just 11 times each of the past two weeks. “He can hit a home run any time at bat,” Fox said. “For an explosive, fast guy, he runs with good playing strength.”

SPEAKING OF RUNNING: Charles and Bears counterpart Matt Forte were in the same draft, and they’ve kept tabs on each other over the years. “If we’re playing a team he’s already played, I always watch what he’s done against them,” Forte said. “I watch a lot of his tape.”

LINING UP: The Bears had to juggle their offensive line after losing center Will Montgomery for the remainder of the season to a broken left leg. Matt Slauson moved from left guard for the rest of the Raiders game, with Patrick Omameh sliding in at guard. But Omameh sat out some practice this week because of an ankle injury, which means rookie Hroniss Grasu could get his shot.

SACK ATTACK: Bears defensive end Jarvis Jenkins has three sacks over the past two games, and credits some advice he got from former teammate Jared Allen. “I asked him back in the spring how he was so successful as a pass rusher. He said the get-off was really key,” Jenkins said. “If you get them back on their heels, that’s where you work your other stuff.”

BALANCED OFFENSE: Kansas City is the only team in the NFL with three players with 20 or more receptions in Charles, Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce. But so far, Maclin has been the star. “He is winning one on one,” Smith said. “There’s times where you’re like, ‘I’m just going to let this go because he’s rolling right now,’ but he’s competitive and you trust him.”


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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