Matt Forte finished the season – perhaps his last in Chicago – with 974 rushing yards with an average of 4.1 yards per carry. Bears tailbacks combined averaged a fraction under 4.0, with Forte both lead back for most of the year and mentor all of it.
“I’ve kind of let them know at an early stage of the road,” Forte said, “to learn from some of the mistakes I’ve made and some of the stuff that I’ve seen other guys do and learn from that too. I kind of let them know what to be heads-up for.”
The focus through much of the season was Forte’s future, whether it will be in a Bears uniform or someone else’s. Forte made an eloquent closing argument with 76 yards in 17 rushes (4.5 ypc) along with three receptions for another 34 yards, the first time in four games that Forte has had more touches than rookie Jeremy Langford.
The Bears have wasted millions looking for a complement to Forte and appeared to find his successor in Langford, who flashed with more than 100 total yards in two starts after Forte was idled with a knee injury. Since then Langford has shown steady improvement, albeit with a couple of costly dropped passes that figured into Bears defeats.
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
“I think he’s improved in the pass protection area for sure,” said offensive coordinator Adam Gase. “His ability to run downhill, I was surprised at how aggressive he was. I know, coming from Michigan State, they did so many gap-scheme type plays, downhill plays, but until you get a guy in the building and you start working with pads, you don’t really understand how physical [he is].”
Ka’Deem Carey, who began training camp as a possible roster casualty because of a lackluster rookie season and few contributions on special teams, squeaked onto the roster and provided some spot duty complete with two rushing and a receiving touchdown.
Moon's RB Grade: B