Chicago Sun-Times

Forte keeps raising the bar for himself -- and Bears

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Roy Williams wasn't surprised that Matt Forte just keeps getting better

''He's the man,'' Williams said after Forte rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries and added 38 yards on two receptions in the Bears' 24-18 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night at Wembley Stadium in London. ''I've said it from Week 1, he's the most valuable player on this football team.''

Actually, that used to be saying something. Not it's stating the obvious. Forte has been even better than that.

How much better?

''I think he's the best player in the NFL right now,'' teammate Brian Urlacher said. ''You look at everything he's done this year. It's just amazing. He's done everything.''

Even if Forte is not the best player in the NFL right now, Urlacher isn't too far off base. Forte leads the Bears with 672 rushing yards (on 124 carries, 5.4 yards per carry) and 419 receiving yards. He leads the NFL with 1,091 total yards. He's the first running back to break the 1,000-yard mark after seven games since 2004.

Forte credited his offensive line for his productive night against the Buccaneers, but center and offensive captain Roberto Garza wasn't buying that.

''Matt is doing a great job of making people miss and making us look good,'' Garza said. ''Today we had a rough day. We made a lot of mistakes and he picked it up. It wasn't a pretty game for the offensive line, but we fought through. You've got to win those games sometimes when you're battling out there and he's doing a great job of making plays and making this offense work.''

Forte did benefit from key blocks from guard Chris Spencer, tight end Matt Spaeth, fullback Tyler Clutts and wide receivers Williams and Dane Sanzenbacher on Sunday night. But he's doing more with what he's given to work with than he has in previous years.

''Every time he touches the ball, he starts from one side of the field and ends up in the end zone, you just never know what he's going to do,'' Garza said. ''His vision, his explosiveness, his speed, I could go on and on about the things he's doing well. We're just fortunate he's on our team.''

Forte wasn't buying the idea that he's been motivated this season by his contract disagreement with the Bears. Heading intothe final season of his rookie contract, for $600,000 in 2011, he asked the Bears to negotiate a new one. The Bears were too low. Forte was too high and a deal never got done.

''I'm motivated every year,'' he said. ''I'm not worried about being motivated for whatever reason. It's not like I've come out and played the game because I'm mad or anything like that. I come out there to succeed for my teammates and for myself.''

If Forte keeps up this pace, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo is going to have to pay up eventually. Though Forte insists it's all business and he holds no personal animosity toward the Bears for not giving him a new deal, it'll be interesting to see just how much loyalty towards the Bears Forte feels after the way this season has gone.

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8 Comments

As of today, Matt Forte is 2nd in the NFL in rushing, behind only the Vikings Adrian Peterson. And depending on how Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew does tonight vs the Ravens, Forte could stay at 2nd? I realize after the bye week this coming sunday Forte will obviously drop down the list, but still, he's having a heck of a season.

It has been well documented on here how bad the Bears offensive line is, with that in mind, can you imagine the kind of numbers Forte would put up behind a great line? Forte is simply coming into his own, this coming bye week would be a great time to ink ol #22. I don't understand the hold up? The rest of the league probably doesn't understand the hold up? Angelo needs to sign Forte, who is easily his best draft pick on offense during his time here in Chicago. Get it done GO BEARS!!

The Bears need to consider something that the Blackhawks dealt with for years: the perception of the ownership among other free agents. They all can see how well Forte is playing, and the team appears to be unwilling to do right by Forte even as he is conducting himself as a professional and the Bears are MILLIONS under the cap. The Bears have been publicly listed as work more than a BILLION dollars yet they are too myopic to see that the one player who consistently puts forth the most professional and capabale effort is worth signing asap? Why would any free agent want to come here if they could only look forward to treeatment like that? How many potential great players did not consider the Blackhawks when Bill Wirtz pulled the same stunt?

When even the casual fan can see the play of Forte is head and shoulders above others, to not get a deal done is becoming insulting. I thought they ended this kind of treatment when Michael McCaskey stopped heading up the team, didn't they? In any event, the Bears can enjoy mediocrity for a long time if this is indicative of how they will run things. If they do continue like this, I think Bears fans need to show their displeasure by staying home from games.

Before the season it was 3 back i would of taken over Forte. Peterson , Johnson, and Jamaal Charles. I think he has seperated himself from the pack and I wont hesitate to say he may be the second best running back in the league behind Peterson.
He may not be the rusher that are though he is averageing 5.2 ypc but what he can do in the passing game is astounding. I mean he really doesnt go out into route much but catches swing pattern and screens and averages 11ypc. Now if only the bears will stop allowing Baber to steal tds.

Forte is pricing himself out of a contract, he is either gonna take less than he wants and is worth or he gets franchised.

Forte's numbers: First in runs over 20, first in runs over 40, 1st in yards from scrimmage, rushing yards per game 3rd(thanks to Martz mostly), he has 25 missed tackles 1st in the nfl. His numbers coulr be bigger but Martz dumped the run against Atlanta, NO, GB and even against the Vikings he only had 17 carries.

Forte has two big problems, his line can't run block up the middle, this kills him in the red zone, and he only has 2 rushing TD's and 3 TD's total on the year or he would be getting MVP talk.

Was it Tiki Barber, Curtis Martin or Shaun Alexander? My guess would be Martin but Barber had some huge years in 04, 05, and 06. Martin was the Jets offense back then.

Well, this is heading down a path where the Bears are either going to trade him, or franchise him for 1 season and then let him walk for nothing (I am betting on this knowing Jerry and how poorly he deals in trades, and his damaged rep after the Baltimore fiasco).

Forte is showing himself to be a tremendous back, whether the Bears are willing to accept that or not. The only thing he is not doing that would make him elite is the short yardage element, where he runs too upright, and doesn't push the pile like he needs to.

The Bears might find someone who wants to trade for him, but not likely, knowing the Bears will either pay him or let him walk in FA. My guess is he will be in another uniform in 2013, and we will get one more year in 2012 under the franchise tag.

If the bears wan to run more effectively up the middle I think hey either have to put Louis at center and Spencer at RG or vice versa. Garza has been serviceable and probably keeps the line grounded and I think Cutler sincerely likes him, but Tice talks about putting the best 5 out there and I think Webb, Williams, Louis, Spencer, and Carimi may be the best 5.

The only thing is the oline has been solid the last two weeks or good enough to win and do you want to mess with that. I mean it could take a while for them to come together and would that effect the run game the only way the bears make the post season.

You also don't get a lot of push from the line in short yardage either, the interior generally caves, the best thing the Bears guards do is pull. I have not seen him try to go up and over either, i think he has tried going over twice.

Yeah if they franchise him he is not coming back, he may even sit out some games. If Forte was on the block teams would trade for him, Jerry was just able to trade Olsen, and he is not close to Forte's production.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on October 23, 2011 8:47 PM.

Roy Williams makes it interesting - both positively and negatively was the previous entry in this blog.

Where the Bears stand heading into the bye is the next entry in this blog.

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