If history was going to be any indication, it was going to be a long season for Bears starting running back Matt Forte. Holdouts such as Chris Johnson and DeAngelo Williams went on to have years that were a dramatic drop-off from their typical production over a season. While Forte looked for a raise from his initial rookie contract, one that he did outperform, he found himself reading headlines rather than practicing.
Going into Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, Bears fans were anxious to see how the Bears new offense would perform, including the share of touches the running backs would get. With the addition of Michael Bush as well, it is obvious that Forte’s workload will go down a bit too, so if he wasn’t able to get it going early, he wouldn’t have as many opportunities to get going.
Bears fans minds were set at ease pretty early, as the explosion of Forte showed up early, including a 32-yard run to help spark the Bears offense that was struggling at the start of the game. By the end of the game, Forte would have 80 yards rushing on 16 carries, averaging 5 yards a carry.
Forte also proved to be a factor as a receiver both out of the back field and lined up as a receiver. There were plays were Bush and Forte lined up in the backfield, Forte was motioned to the slot to run a route in the passing game. Forte had three receptions for 40 yards, most coming on a 31 yard catch.
There was one area where the addition of Bush hurt Forte’s production. When the Bears were in the redzone, especially the goalline, Bush saw the carries over Forte, including two touchdowns.
The Bears will need Forte to help Cutler be able to hit his new targets Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, as a solid running game will keep those targets open. Forte doesn’t need goal line carries to prove his worthiness on the Bears, as his production from there has never been a strong point of his game anyway.
If Sunday was any indication, Bears fans can set aside their worries about Forte having a holdout hangover. The speed and explosiveness was still there and the production from out of the backfield was there. If the Bears are going to defeat Green Bay, Forte will need to prove once and for all he is at full speed, both from the knee injury and the holdout. It’s a quick turnaround, so we will know shortly.
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