Matt Forte Greatly Needed by Chicago Bears in Week 17

By Clyde A. Speller
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In last week’s victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte re-injured the right ankle that sidelined him earlier this season. Forte didn’t return to action in that game, but did gain 88 yards on just 12 carries and scored a touchdown. Forte did say that he feels he’ll be able to play in the must-win regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions.

The Bears had better hope that Forte is right about that, because Chicago’s offense hasn’t been good near the latter part of the season. With the exception of wide receiver Brandon Marshall, the Bears’ offense has been inconsistent in the passing game, and hasn’t been that committed to the running game.

Without Forte, Chicago will be left with just reserve running backs Armando Allen and recently re-signed Kahlil Bell. Even if Forte is able to play, Allen and Bell will be highly depended upon to help the Bears’ struggling offense. However, that doesn’t mean that the Bears’ leading rusher shouldn’t be the focal point in the running game.

Forte, who’s only nine yards shy of his third 1,000-yard season in his five-year career, should run well against a Detroit run defense that ranks 18th in the league. This will greatly benefit the Bears’ passing game that still hasn’t found a number-two receiver to complement Marshall.

Chicago’s success on the ground and in the air will be determined by the production of Forte. If it were up to me, I would have Forte more involved in the passing game as well. It’s as if the Bears forgot that they have one of the best all-around backs in the league. Forte currently has a career-low 319 receiving yards on the season.

If they are still looking for a second receiver to help Marshall, maybe they should consider Forte out of the backfield more, or even split out wide against a linebacker.

Whether if it’s in the running game or in the passing attack, Chicago somehow needs to pull out all the stops offensively, because a loss will kill their chance for the postseason. Even worse, could be the beginning of the end for some key people within the organization.

Follow me on Twitter @ClydeASpeller

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