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60-second rant: Bears need to feed Forté down the stretch

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Nov. 30, 2010 @ 8:47 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

After trying to make it as a pass-first offense earlier in the season, offensive coordinator Mike Martz has shown a greater commitment to handing RB Matt Forté the ball since the Bears' Week Eight bye. Chicago has 136 rushing attempts — 74 of which were made by Forté, who had 90 carries in the first seven games — compared to 121 pass plays during its four-game winning streak, and it's alone in first place in the NFC North.

QB Jay Cutler is considered the star of the show on offense, but if the Bears get to the playoffs and make a deep run, they're going to do it by relying as much, if not more, on Forté's legs as on Cutler's arm.

It's not that Cutler can't make great plays or that Forté is an elite back. But, unless he completely bucks the trend, we also know that Cutler is going to throw at least a few more cringe-worthy interceptions before the season is over. When Cutler throws more than 35 times, the Bears are 2-9. In games when Forté has 17 carries or more, Chicago is 15-8.

The Bears put Cutler in a better position to succeed when the running backs, whether they're highly productive or not, are heavily involved and he's not forced into situations where defenses know he's going to pass before the ball is even snapped.

Neither player can do it all on his own, but both have fared better in the last four games, when the running game has been featured more prominently.

If the Bears could find a way to get RB Chester Taylor going, this offense would be as dangerous as ever. While Forté is averaging a career-best 4.2 yards per carry, Taylor is picking up just 2.6 yards per attempt and had more rushes than yards in each of the past two games (17 carries for seven yards).

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