Matt Forte was 2/3rds of the Bears offense last season and he has been a ghost of himself this year. He was non-existent in the first two games against Green Bay and Pittsburgh. He was expected to have a great game against Seattle, but he barely averaged three yards per carry. Frank Gore ran all over the Seahawks last week and this could be a huge red flag for the Bears. Forte wasn’t expected to be a huge part of the passing game, but they need him to be a force in the running game. Is Forte in a sophomore slump or is this just a case of him facing good teams?
It doesn’t matter what team you play for in the NFL, if you only have 150 yards and averaging 2.5 yards per carry in the first three games of the season, people will start talking. Forte averaged 3.9 last season, but he also had 63 receptions, which may have been due to Kyle Orton dumping the ball off in a hurry. He does have 11 receptions so far this season, so he is near his usual pace. He didn’t catch any balls the first came, so you have to give props to Ron Turner for recognizing that he needs the ball in his hands.
I know Forte’s performance hasn’t been what the Bears have wanted, but they still need to keep feeding him the ball. He is their playmaker on offense and they can’t give up on the running game. When the Bears offense becomes one-dimensional, Jay Cutler will become predictable. He already tries to force passes in where he has no right to throw them. If you take away the running game, safeties will be spying the quarterback and the defense can play nickel and deep dime all game long.
Much have been made of Michael Turner’s large number of carries and the affect on the running back the next season. If you add Forte’s carries and receptions last season, it equals the amount of work that Turner received last year. I guess if you have the mindset that Turner will have a down year, you’re not surprised that Forte’s numbers have taken a hit. The Bears rode him last year and it has took its toll on him. He may turn it around and for the Bears sake, I hope he does.