Monday, Dec. 27, 2010
By John Mullin
The Bears running back is a Tulane guy, good school, bright guy.
So why would he say the kind of thing he did Monday? And in front of cameras, recorders and reporters??
Matt Forte is 22 yards short of 1,000 for the season, which would push him past that standard for the second time in his three NFL seasons. And he currently is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, which arguably places him in even more rarified air among NFL running backs.
For someone who had 929 last season with injuries hampering him all year, that is truly special.
And Forte knows what how special it will be for his Big Brothers: the offensive line.
It would mean a lot, probably just as much as it means for me to get 1,000 yards, Forte said. Just to hit that benchmark for those guys, because everybody wants to either run for 1,000 or block for a 1,000-plus yard rusher and things like that. Its very important for me to get that, especially for those guys.
Devin Hester is buying his return boys exquisite watches in appreciation of what theyve done to help him achieve his NFL return record. So I asked Forte if hes buying his Big Brothers cars, watches, things like that.
Yeah, Forte said, smiling, all that stuff.
Well, alrighty then for Roberto Garza, Olin Kreutz, Frank Omiyale, JMarcus Webb and Chris Williams, your second Christmas is exactly 22 yards away. You heard him say it.
But for a group that was maligned more than any other all season, the vindication is in the record as well as the records.
They werent ready to declare Sunday as their best game of the season for the simple reason that for a professional athlete, your best game is your next one.
But it felt that way, Omiyale said. We still had some mistakes here and there but I love how we stick together through thick and thin and keep fighting until the clock runs out.
The development and improvement shouldnt be all that surprising. One of the reasons I felt that the 2010 offensive line wouldnt be the disaster it was being portrayed as was the near-exponential improvement that happened when the line finally got together in 2009.
Omiyale and Williams have reversed positions since then. But that five-game stretch produced the best rushing stretch of the season, with more than 100 rushing yards in four of the five games and an average of 111 yards per game. The only real difference from the close of 2009 and now is Webb at right tackle instead of Kevin Shaffer, now the swing tackle and short-yardage heavy.
Starting with the Buffalo game, when Garza came back at right guard from knee surgery, the results have been virtually on par with the closing kick of 2009: eight games, 886 yards - just under 111 yards per game.
The offensive line was blamed for so much that was going wrong early this season. For so much of what's gone right since then, seems only fair that they get credit for that as well.
Credit, and those cars and watches from Forte...
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.