Although the Chicago Bears are surprisingly sitting on top of the NFC North, you have got to wonder, where is Matt Forte? The Bears gave the 26 year old a gigantic contract extension and he is not living up to expectations. Why?
Playing in four out of the five games Chicago has played, Forte has 58 carries (14.5 per game) for 270 yards and only 1 touchdown. What’s even more telling is the former Tulane University standout who accounted for over 50% of the Bears’ offense a year ago, has caught just 10 (2.5 per game) passes and 0 touchdowns. That number in itself has to get better.
Part of the reason Forte’s numbers are down is because of free agent veteran Michael Bush. Believe it or not, by splitting time with Forte, Bush has the same amount of carries and just 64 yards less than Forte. Bush has also found the end zone two more times with 3 total touchdowns and has caught 5 passes. This has affected Forte’s playing time and usage enormously.
But, perhaps the number one reason Forte’s numbers are not eye opening like usual is because of the huge free agent signing of stellar wide receiver Brandon Marshall in the off season. This idea was either going to be a hit or miss by reuniting Marshall and Jay Cutler. So far, its been a perfect hit. Cutler is actually able to stretch the field and let them rip now. Marshall is on pace for over 80 catches and 1,300 yards. Marshall has found pay dirt 3 times. These figures play in to the starting running back’s mediocre season as well.
Football is not an individual sport and Forte seems like the type of player that doesn’t care too much about statistics. In today’s NFL, the two back system is effective and successful. However, if the first place Bears are going to make a run at their tenth NFL championship, they are going to need better production from No. 22. The Bears need him to play like the top five running back he truly is. If the organization didn’t believe that, they wouldn’t have paid the tremendous amount of money they did to keep him.
For the last four years, Forte has shown he can play the game of football. It should not be a surprise to see him on the field more as the season progresses. When those chances come, expect Forte to take full advantage of them.
Ryan Ruiz – rantsports.com Writer
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