The play of Josh McCown, mauling running by Eddie Lacy and the untimely injury exit of Aaron Rodgers served to overshadow one of the best games put up this season by Matt Forte, whose 125 rushing yards and five catches for another 54. He was arguably the single most important player on the field, offense or defense, scoring on a one-yard run.
And even with Rodgers back, Forte still looms as the player who can most make Jay Cutler’s day and ruin Rodgers’.
“If we go out there and make plays and basically play smart football – no turnovers or penalties – then we can take the pressure off Jay and hopefully put less focus on the mistakes or anything that they try to scrutinize him for,” Forte said.
The Bears are 9-1 in games when they attempt more than 25 runs (including quarterback scrambles and kneel-downs), losing only to St. Louis, where they ran 26 times but could manage only 3.1 yards per carry. They are 1-3 when they fail to average more than 3.5 per carry.
Forte’s 24 carries were supplemented by seven from Michael Bush in the game that coach Marc Trestman pointed to in defense of Bush’s use during a weak stretch for Bush that followed the Green Bay game. And the two backs averaged just short of 5 yards per carry.
Forte is looking for that again and not focusing on the broader implications of the game for both teams.
“We just are taking it like one play at a time this game and one game at a time,” Forte said. “Not looking too far ahead of ourselves so that we can take care of business this Sunday and focus on whatever comes next after that.”
What to look for: While local attention has been riveted on the appalling Bears run defense, the Green Bay run resistance has been only slightly better. Beginning with the Bears’ game (171 yards), the Packers have allowed an average of 162 rushing yards per game over the past eight.
The key for the Bears is dealing with a massive but less-than-mobile Packers front that is missing tackle Johnny Jolly and linebacker Clay Matthews to injury.
“They’re huge with [defensive end Ryan] Pickett, [nose tackle B.J.] Raji and a few other guys that don’t move,” said right tackle Jordan Mills. “A tornado could come through and not move them.”