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Can the Bears Increase Reliance on Forte - Plus MF2k Update

So, I was all but ready to call Matt Forte's chance at hitting 1,000 yards each of receiving and rushing deader than a thanksgiving turkey, but the Jay Cutler injury gives him another chance (think Travolta saves Uma). Not a great one, and not one any of us would have wished for, but nonetheless, the reliance on Matt Forte will continue, if not somehow be amped up for the remainder of the regular season. Don't jump - you might hurt yourself after all that food you ate - just continue reading.

The insertion of Caleb Hanie into the lineup means (hopefully) the max-protect packages and chip-blocks from tight ends and backs on salivating pass rushers will continue, as will the mixing in of screen passes and quick routes to our diverse collection of receivers, from the competent (Orange Shoes Bennett) to the questionable (Sanzy - Where fore art thou?) to the nonessential (tight ends - according to Mad Martz). I'll be expecting a ton of short looks to Forte, our tight ends, and our possession receivers to act as an extension of the running game, which will likely be leaned on heavily for the remainder of the season. The Bears already have thrown the sixth-most screen passes (33) in the league, gaining the fifth-most yardage (244), so its not like doing this would be a new wrinkle to the offense; Martz just needs to tweak a bit since he doesn't have Cutler right now.

Forte's one of the tops in the league in terms of the percentage of his team's offense he accounts for, so I don't see how that number can exactly skyrocket. His 41.8% is second only to Maurice Jones-Drew's 43.3%, so I expect that the crucial part for the Bears' will be continuing to make Forte's touches result in solid yardage gains. Whatever happens to his touches overall (up or down or maintain), I would assume that he'll get more looks in the passing game to offset some of the extra attention he'll undoubtedly get from run defenses. Efficiency for the Bears' offense, specifically in regards to their best weapon (Forte), will be more important down the stretch than giving him 40+ touches a game.

As for the MF2k update - Forte still hasn't reached forty yards receiving in a game since week three, so I forfeited last week's update, but a Hanie promotion could mean more looks in the passing game for Forte, so we'll give this one more shot. Right now, #22's averaging 92 yards on the ground and 46 through the air; if he maintains those averages, he'll finish the year with 1,482 rushing and 744 receiving yards, hitting the vaunted 2,000 combined yards but missing out on joining Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk as the only guys to ever get 1,000 of each in the same season. As for this week, hope for minimal turnovers from Hanie, 25-35 efficient touches for Forte, and turkey leftovers surviving until Sunday's game. Yardage totals and averages for the three through ten games is below.


  Stats Through 10 games Average Through 10 games
  Rushing Receiving Rushing Receiving
Forte 926 465 92.6 46.5
Faulk 806 572 80.6 57.2
Craig 664 687 66.4 68.7