After a quiet first half of the season, Johnny Knox has been more of a factor on offense in recent weeks as Devin Hester's role as a wide receiver has declined.
Knox didn't score a touchdown in the first nine games of the season and was targeted only three times total in the Bears' first two games coming off a Week Eight bye. He's been targeted 15 times in the two games since, however, and has scored a TD in each of those games. The third-year receiver had a career-high 145 yards Sunday against the Raiders and is averaging 22.2 yards per catch this season, which is a league high among receivers with 10 or more receptions.
We've seen this before from Knox. He had two catches for 78 yards and a TD against the Vikings in Week 15 last season and followed that up with a four-catch, 92-yard performance the next week against the Jets. He scored two touchdowns in that game. He didn't have a single catch (on eight targets) in his next game, however, as the Packers' physical cornerbacks shut him down.
Sunday was a career day for Knox, but he had his miscues, dropping a very catchable ball on a short screen pass.
Knox can be a huge help to QB Caleb Hanie — and boost his own stock in the second-to-last year of his rookie contract (he could be among the players up for consideration for an extension) — by cutting down on these correctable issues and finishing the season strong.
It was obvious that he had not exactly impressed offensive coordinator Mike Martz heading into this season. Martz replaced Knox with Roy Williams in the starting lineup about as soon as he could, demoting Knox in training camp.
Knox may have a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and the Bears need him to play like it, as they look to hold on to their lead in the wild-card race.
Follow Dan Parr on Twitter