Sep 14, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) rushes for a gain against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Levi
The Opponents and the Schedule
The Bears have played three of the top seven rushing defenses so far this season. The Jets, who held Matt Forte to just 33 yards, are ranked the top rush defense in the league. The Niners are ranked 7th in the league, allowing about 86 yards per game while the Bills are ranked 6th in the league, giving up 84 yards per game.
It is a little tougher running the ball on the road. With crowd noise and silent counts, it’s a little tougher to fire off the ball. Matt Forte had a respectable 82 rushing yards at home against the Bills while he’s been bottled up on the road. As the Bears get back home, they should be able to fire off the ball and put a hat on a hat and open up some lanes for Forte.
Da Windy City
Welcome to the 21st century. The Bears are a passing team. The black and blue division and ground and pound flavor of football is fading. Head coach Marc Trestman has built his success and his offense on passing the ball. As good as Matt Forte is, the Bears offense is built around Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery (and Martellus Bennett, I don’t want to offend him!).
Forte has been given limited chances to run the ball. He had 17 carries against the Bills, 12 against the 49ers and the 13 against the Jets. That’s just not trying enough to really get the running game going. It often takes a dozen or more carries to start wearing an opponent down. The Bears haven’t tried enough to wear down their opponents. In the Niners game, the Bears were chasing a lead, so it doesn’t exactly lend itself to running the ball.
The good news is, when it mattered most against the Jets last week, the Bears were able to convert a couple of first downs by running the ball. That crack toss play with Jermon Bushrod pulling appears to be a bread and butter play that the Bears run well. They should be getting healthier up front and the Packers rank 30th against the run. This should help them get their running game going this week. If they still struggle to run the ball against the Packers, then maybe we start to worry that Matt Forte has lost a little bit off his fast ball.
What do you think? Are you concerned about the Bears running game? Is this fixable?