Will David Montgomery continue to lose targets with Chicago Bears?

Chicago Bears - Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

It is added to the long list of disappointments, but on top of David Montgomery only getting 16 carries despite his efficiency, he also was hardly used in the passing game. One of the biggest revelations of the Chicago Bears’ late-season run in 2020 was getting Montgomery the ball as a receiver.

In fact, he went from 1.6 targets per game in 2019 to 3.6 in 2020. That includes 4.1 targets per game from week three on, which is when Tarik Cohen was banged up. It seemed the Bears were forced into throwing to Montgomery more, but he performed well, and they still do not have Cohen, so you would assume that he may still get that work. That was not the case.

In fact, he finished the game with just one target, which is even below his 2019 rate. He did not have a single game in 2020 with one or fewer targets, and only in week three of 2020 had fewer yards through the air.

Chicago Bears use Damien Williams as pass catcher

The obvious factor is Damien Williams, who added in five receptions himself. Damien Williams was targeted on 13% of his routes, compared to just 3% for Montgomery. The 13% is over the 12.1% target rate that Montgomery had from week three on last year.

Monty also had a 7.8% rate with Cohen healthy in 2020 and a 6% rate in 2019.  His 3% target rate pales in comparison to the work he was getting with a pass catcher in Cohen in the lineup.

It is one thing to add in a potentially better pass catcher in Damien Williams, and the idea is that Cohen will get his fair share of targets when healthy. Still, the Bears have to find a way to get them to work, but not take away from Montgomery.

His three or four targets can be valuable, and you saw him rip off ten yards on a pass caught at the line on his only catch Sunday. At the very least he needs to be targeted at the 7 or 8% rate that he was seeing with Cohen healthy.

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Fans want to see Montgomery get more carries, but with a few more catches he could have had a bigger impact. That was the biggest difference between his breakout 2020, and what we saw in 2021.