Bears

Bears Grades: RBs show off their own three-headed monster

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Bears Grades: RBs show off their own three-headed monster

The Bears running-back triad was the offensive story of the Bears’ 26-21 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“We definitely showed that three backs is definitely better than one,” said Ka’Deem Carey. “Everybody did their job and we got the win.”

And the combo play of Carey and Jeremy Langford may have been something of a preview, or at least a snapshot, of what the Bears may be doing in their offensive future. More on that shortly.

Langford carried 19 times, his second-highest total for the year, for 83 yards. The Bears are now 3-0 when Langford carries 18 or more times in a game. Matt Forte carried 11 times for 54 yards and added three receptions for another 23. Carey caught one pass for one yard and one touchdown.

Carey, who scored on a one-yard plunge in the first half, lined up in front of Langford in an I-formation on a goal-to-go from the Tampa Bay one in the fourth quarter. Carey sprinted outside linebacker coverage to the Chicago left while Langford was over quickly to cut-block the closest rusher to Cutler, getting the rusher’s hands down and away from possibly interfering with a well-designed play.

“[Offensive coordinator] Adam Gase has a great mind, putting it all together,” Carey said. “We just go out there and run it for him. It was a great call.”

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Running backs kept the Bears in the game during the first half when the Buccaneers took away any passing game down the field. Jeremy Langford (10 carries, 49 yards) and Matt Forte (8-45) kept chains moving. Carey powered into the end zone behind right guard Vladimir Ducasse and tackle Kyle Long for a much-needed first half touchdown from a yard out.

“It was a huge hole,” Carey said. “I knew my boys had my back so I just got on their backs and they took me for a ride.”

Moon's Grade: A

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

The Chicago Bears have a really good problem in their backfield. Both Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen will demand touches in 2018 and are each starting-quality running backs. Howard is the more traditional first and second-down back while Cohen offers top-tier playmaking ability.

The duo is so talented that they were recently ranked the fourth-best backfield in the NFL.

The Chicago Bears' Jordan Howard has emerged as one of the NFL's top rushers. He finished his rookie season with 1,313 yards, second-most in the NFL. Last season, he rushed for 1,122 yards and 4.1 yards per carry even though Chicago had the league's least threatening passing attack (175.7 yards per game).

Howard isn't the only standout back on the roster, though. Tarik Cohen is a supremely talented runner and receiver and a perfect complement to Howard. Last season, he amassed 370 rushing yards, 53 receptions and 353 receiving yards.

The Bears' backfield was behind only the Rams, Saints and Chiefs.

Howard set Chicago's rookie rushing record with 1,313 yards in 2016 and became the first Bears running back to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He should be the Bears' primary back, but coach Matt Nagy expressed genuine excitement over Cohen's skill set which suggests he plans on getting him the ball quite a bit this season.

Regardless of how the touches play out, the Bears will present opposing defenses with one of the most challenging ground games in the NFL.

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen's rookie season with the Chicago Bears was an impressive blend of running, receiving and special teams play. He quickly became a household name. The combination of his diminutive frame and oversized personality made him a fan favorite, especially when he started gaining yards in chunks.

    In fact, of all running backs with a minimum of 80 carries last season, Cohen had the highest percentage of runs that went for 15 or more yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Cohen will have a big role in new coach Matt Nagy's offense this season because of everything he offers a play-caller. He's a weapon as a receiver out of the backfield and can chew up yards on the ground like any traditional running back. He's a hold-your-breath talent who can turn a bad play into a touchdown in the blink of an eye.

    Cohen had 370 rushing yards, 353 receiving yards and three offensive touchdowns in what can be described as a limited role last year. John Fox and Dowell Loggains didn't seem to ever figure out how to best use Cohen's skill set. That should be no issue for Nagy and Mark Helfrich, the team's new offensive coordinator, who both bring a creative offensive approach to Chicago.

    Jordan Howard will be the starter and will do most of the heavy lifting. But Cohen is going to have a much bigger role than he had as a rookie, and that should result in more big plays and points on the board.