Before Matt Forte's MCL sprain two weeks ago, the veteran running back was having an All-Pro type of season, both as a runner and a receiver, and accounted for 32% of the Bears offensive productivity in the first seven games of the season. Forte is still in remarkable shape, and is set to be a free agent after 2015.
Of course, his heir-apparent, rookie Jeremy Langford, has been sitting in the wings, getting a couple series worth of plays each game while he adjusts to the speed and power of the NFL. When the Bears drafted him this past Spring, it was with the intentions of him being their starting running back of the future.
And the future is now, at least temporarily, while Forte nurses his knee.
Jeremy Langford on Sunday got his second consecutive start, and for the second consecutive game, showed Chicago exactly what they would get when he takes over full time: a guy that can grind it out in the trenches, make elusive cuts back into lanes when he sees an opportunity, utilize explosive quickness when he finds a seam, and is a genuine receiving threat out of the backfield. Not a bad skill set for a rookie backup.
Langford's stat lines from his first two starts:
- Week 9 vs San Diego: 18 rushes, 72 yards, 1 TD | 3 receptions, 70 yards
- Week 10 vs Rams: 20 rushes, 73 yards, 1 TD | 7 receptions, 109 yards, 1 TD
And Langford's performance on Sunday versus the Rams out him in some elite company: He's only the third Bears player in history with over 100 yards receiving, a rushing touchdown, and receiving touchdown all in the same game:
Only players in Bears history w/ 100 Rec Yds, Rec TD, Rush TD in a game: Jeremy Langford Walter Payton Gale Sayers pic.twitter.com/FMwzUuwVVl— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 15, 2015
Matt Forte is one of the greatest running backs to ever play for the Chicago Bears, but his knee injury couldn't come at a worse time. He's turning 30 yars old in December, and set to be a free agent after this season. Will the Bears be in a tough spot when it's time to re-evaluate his future? Of course... They'll be in a tough spot when he's ready to come back from his knee injury.