Running back is one of those positions where a rookie can come in and make an impact right from game one. Unlike offensive line and some other positions, you can know right away if you have something with a young tailback.
The Bears have something in Jeremy Langford, who anchored the offense with 72 rushing yards, 70 receiving yards, a touchdown and a crucial two-point conversion.
Langford had been planning for this game “all my life,” he said. “Monday night football… . I’m truly blessed to be in this situation and the coaches trusting me.”
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One week after a deflating late-game pass drop in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the fourth-round pick of the Bears in the 2015 draft became the latest rookie to explode on the NFL in his first significant action. “That was my whole point, to make up for that last game,” Langford said. “You want to forget about those plays and have the coaches trust me and have [Jay] Cutler trust in me, and he did.”
Langford didn’t start; Ka’Deem Carey opened at running back and Langford entered late in the first possession. He and Carey combined for 25 carries for 100 yards, Langford with 18 for 72 and Carey seven for 28. Langford also caught three passes for those 70 yards, 31 coming on a layout diving catch in the first half.
Compare that to the first starts of the NFL’s current five leading rushers:
It's also worth mentioning that Matt Forte rushed 23 times for 123 yards in first first NFL start in 2008.
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“He’s dual-purpose,” said coach John Fox. “He can catch. The catch he made on the ‘go’ route – wide receivers have a tough time on that catch. He’s explosive. He can take short runs into longer runs. I thought he had a great night.”