After that promising start and the destruction of the Falcons in week 1, the Bears brought the fandom down by losing ugly to the New Orleans Saints. I can’t say the loss was much of a surprise as the Saints in the Dome is a tough match-up, but what was a surprise was the lack of a running game by Chicago offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
When your most talented play-maker on offense is neglected in one aspect of the game, it makes it hard to succeed. Matt Forte was his usual exceptional self in the passing game, hauling in 10 receptions for 117 yards, but it was a lack of runs that allowed the Saints to get after it and blitz Jay Cutler.
Forte had only 10 carries in the game, and Mad Martz only called 11 on the day. Forte had 10 carries for 49 yards. Included in that total was a big 42 yard gain. Take that away and he went for 7 yards on 9 carries. But that’s ok. The run game isn’t full of homeruns, it’s a pound it out, pound it out, pound it out, then you break one.
Hopefully some of the pounding will wear on a defense. Hopefully some of the pounding will result in some 3rd and shorts. Forte isn’t track star fast, but he quite capable of hitting a seam and going the distance. That being said, he needs the ball in his hands to do so. Forte has shown in his career that he can be a workhorse, in his rookie year he was over 300 carries.
He has shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and split out as a receiver. He’s one of the best all around backs in the game today, yet it appears he’s undervalued from the Bears management. I can see the point from managements side, a running back usually has a short shelf life, and a giant contract could handicap a team moving forward if the back breaks down.
But Matt Forte is 25 years old. A 4 year extension still won’t take him to old man age of 30. It’s time to pay the man his worth. Not because they need to, Forte will perform to the best of his ability even without new paper, but because it’s the right thing to do.
Fair or not, the Bears brass still has the cheap reputation. Matt Forte did things the right way, he waited until he was in the last year of his rookie deal before making a stink about it.
If the Bears are sticking to their guns about Lance Briggs doing things the wrong way, with him asking for a new deal with 3 years left on his contract, then they need to pay Forte.
Even though management can simply wait, then franchise tag Forte to keep him under their control for 2012, they still need to take care of their best offensive weapon.