The job of filling in for injured Matt Forte was a committee approach, with little-used Ka’Deem Carey getting his first start and alternating with Jeremy Langford, and Langford getting the heavier load.
Langford’s layout catch for 31 yards netted a first-quarter third-down conversion was highlight-reel stuff. Langford was crisp and decisive getting into holes, avoiding jump-cuts or jitter-stepping to lose forward momentum. He also took a swing pass 16 yards on the Bears’ first possession of the second half.
[MORE: Langford had planned for this game 'all my life']
The backs rushed 26 times for a total of 111 yards – 72 by Langford, 28 for Carey and 11 yards for Antone Smith on his one carry.
“Really it was kind of what we expected, and we expected a lot,” said coach John Fox. “Both [Langford] and Ka’Deem and even Antone got in there and busted a run for pretty good distance. They’re pretty good players and it means a lot to them, and I’m glad they’re on our side.”
Langford and Carey were solid in pass protection, part of the reason Jay Cutler was sacked just once in 41 dropbacks, with five other hits registered.
Moon's Grade: A
Matt Forte was on course for his typical solid all-around season rushing and receiving before the knee injury vs. Minnesota. He ranked among the league leaders with 548 yards plus 25 receptions for another 219.
Langford and Carey were rarely called upon before the Forte injury and delivered in the win over San Diego. But the Bears had not rushed for 100 yards total in any of the five games prior to the Chargers, not all on the running backs, but neither were Forte and the others exceptional.
Moon's Mid-year Grade: B
Chicago Bears training camp is right around the corner with the first practice (non-padded) scheduled for July 21.
Bears veterans and rookies will report a few days ahead of that first session to acclimate themselves to their new (for some) surroundings. Rookies report on July 16, with veterans coming three days later on July 19.
All eyes will be on QB Mitch Trubisky and the potentially high-flying offense under coach Matt Nagy. Training camp will take on extra importance because of the plethora of new faces on the roster and coaching staff as well as the installation of a completely new offensive scheme. It's critical that Trubisky builds chemistry with wide receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Kevin White, all of whom he's never thrown a regular-season pass to. Add Trey Burton to that mix and a lot of miscues should be expected in the preseason.
The rookie class is led by linebacker Roquan Smith, who remains unsigned. With less than 30 days until rookies are required to report, a greater sense of urgency -- even if it's not quite a panic -- is certainly creeping in. Assuming he's signed in time, Smith should earn a starting role early in training camp and ascend to one of the defense's top all-around players.
The Bears have higher-than-usual expectations heading into the 2018 season making fans eager for summer practices to get underway.
The Chicago Bears need a big season from outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. He's the team's best pass-rush option and the only legitimate threat to post double-digit sacks this year.
Floyd joined the Bears as a first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in 2016 and has flashed freakish talent at times. The problem has been his health; he's appeared in only 22 games through his first two seasons.
Floyd's rookie year -- especially Weeks 5 through 9 -- showed a glimpse of the kind of disruptive force he's capable of becoming. He registered seven sacks and looked poised to breakout in 2017. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to only 10 games and four sacks.
Despite his disappointing sophomore season, NFL.com's Gil Brandt has high hopes for Floyd in 2018. The long-time NFL personnel executive named Floyd as the Bear with the best chance to earn a first-time trip to the Pro Bowl.
CHICAGO BEARS: Leonard Floyd, OLB, third NFL season. Floyd had seven sacks as a rookie in 2016, but missed six games last season due to a knee injury. He's a talented guy who can drop into coverage or rush with his hand on the ground and should play much better this season. He also has become much stronger since coming into the league.
The Bears will be in a heap of trouble if Floyd doesn't emerge as a Pro Bowl caliber player. There aren't many pass-rushing options on the roster outside of Floyd aside from Aaron Lynch and rookie Kylie Fitts. Neither edge defender has a resume strong enough to rely on as insurance.
It's a critical year for Floyd's future in Chicago, too. General manager Ryan Pace will decide whether to pick up Floyd's fifth-year option in his rookie contract next offseason. If he plays well, it's a no-brainer. If not, Pace could be looking at two straight first-round picks (see: Kevin White) that he's declined the extra year.
We're a long way from that decision. Until then, the Bears' season may sink or swim based on its pass rush. It begins -- and ends -- with Floyd.