Washington is 23rd against the run and allowing 123 rush yards per game. More significant, 4.4 yards per rush given up, albeit facing three top-10 run offenses (Philadelphia, Green Bay, Oakland) in five games.
Matt Forte would just as soon forget his one experience with the Washington Redskins, getting the ball just 10 times (plus five Jay Cutler passes) in a Mike Martz game plan in 2010 that ended up with the Bears blowing a 14-10 halftime lead on the strength of five straight turnovers to start the second half.
Forte contributed a fumble of his own in Washington territory.
But Forte projects again as perhaps the key to staving off a Washington pass rush that is among the NFL’s best. Not coincidentally, the Bears are 4-0 when their running backs have more than 20 carries; they are 0-2 when Forte and Michael Bush are sub-20.
The NFL bromide of “Run away from power, run at speed” could have been framed for the Washington defense and edge rushers Ryan Kerrigan (260 pounds) and Brian Orakpo (257).
“You have two great outside linebackers coming off the edge in pass protection,” said offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. “Then in the nickel, they’ll use those two guys as defensive ends, so we have to account for those two guys. We always do, but we really have to pay special attention. They are special pass rushers. [Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett] likes to use multiple blitzes on third down, and on regular downs. I’m sure we’ll see some things we haven’t seen, and we’ll have to adjust and handle it.”
The Bears’ most consistent offensive lineman to date has been rookie right tackle Jordan Mills and the Bears have been well served opening games with a commitment to the run that allows Mills and fellow rookie Kyle Long come off the ball hard early and force defenses to honor the run.
“What Jordan has done is continue to work fundamentals and make sure that his defender rushes outside and in the running game be physical and have landmarks and footwork,” Kromer said. “And that’s what he continues to work on, and so he has had success.”
Success up front means success for Forte, which has translated into scoreboard success for the Bears.