Jay Cutler has been tremendous after the bye week, but even Jay will probably tell you that Matt Forte is a big part of his success. At 6-2 218 pounds, Matt Forte is everything you want out of a back. He's a great runner with decent breakaway speed, great hands out the backfield, and can run actual routes when split out wide or in the slot. If there was any current NFL back closer to the skill set of Marshall Faulk its Forte, which is maybe why Martz adores the guy. Coming into the season, the offensive player I felt who would benefit from Martz's scheme was Matt Forte. That's why I never had any doubt that he will continue to be the Bears starting tail back over disappointing free agent Chester Taylor.
The versatility of Forte will be the key for the Bears this Sunday and maybe throughout the rest of the playoffs. In the last meeting against the Seahawks, Forte only rushed the ball 8 times for a total of 11 yards. It was the game that I felt was the turning point of the season because it allowed Lovie and Tice to sit down with Martz at the bye week, and help him realize that they need balance on offense. Martz's adjustments helped as Forte finished the season with 1,069 yards 237 rushes and a career high 4.5 yards per carry. The adjustment also allowed Forte to finish with 51 catches and 547 receiving yards.
The Forte effect on Jay Cutler
Forte eases some pressure off Cutler who doesn't have to fully carry the offense on his back every game. Seattle will be bringing pressure specifically from the defensive backfield and line backers. Forte's ability to pick up blitzes will certainly be a key to give Jay extra time to find the hole in the secondary and take advantage of it. Forte also gives him an extra option in the passing game. There are not many line backers in the NFL that can stay with Forte on routes and I don't expect that to change this Sunday.
The Forte effect on both defenses
If Forte can run the ball effectively this Sunday, it will keep the offense from 3rd and long situations while also not letting the defense get tired out by drives ending early. We most likely will see some form of a no huddle offense by the Seahawks offense, so Forte's ability to run effectively will keep the defense rested up. The effect on the Seahawks defense is that it will simply force them to put a safety in the box, making a weak secondary even more vulnerable.
The Forte effect on the possession receivers
If Forte is hurting the secondary in the short to intermediate passing game, a good portion of the secondary will key in on him. This allows the other possession receivers Greg Olsen and Earl Bennett to do damage in the middle of the field. Bennett's ability to get big yards after the catch makes him the one receiver to benefit the most if the defense keys in on Forte.
In my opinion, Forte is the integral guy for this offense to be effective this Sunday. What he does on offense opens up opportunities for everybody else, and him running the ball effectively keeps the defense fresh and not tired come late in the game. If you are looking for a key player this Sunday, look no further than the versatile weapon Matt Forte.