Stock Watch: Forte moves up Bears' list
December, 11, 2012
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com
Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY SportsMatt Forte averaged 6.5 yards a carry against the Vikings, but had just 13 carries.
1. Matt Forte, RB: Averaged 6.5 yards per attempt against the Vikings and ripped off a 36-yard gain. Because the Bears got into passing mode, they couldn't involve Forte enough for him to make an impact. Forte gained 119 yards from scrimmage and moved past Rick Casares for third on the franchise's all-time list for career yards from scrimmage (7,336). Forte doesn't appear to be playing at 100 percent. Perhaps it's the nagging leg injuries he's endured this season.
2. Brandon Marshall, WR: Opponents know where the ball's going, but time and time again Marshall delivers huge performances despite teams gearing up to stop him. He's caught 10 balls or more in back to back games. Against the Vikings he gained seven first downs and a TD. Despite all his positive attributes, even Marshall would admit he drops too many catchable balls. But without Marshall, the Bears have no offense. That needs to change.
3. Julius Peppers, DE: Going into the game Sunday, Peppers finished just two games with three tackles and the rest with two tackles or fewer. So the performance against the Vikings may have been the best of the season for Peppers, who has battled all season through a foot injury. Peppers pressured Christian Ponder three times and contributed four tackles. Peppers pretty much ragdolled Minnesota rookie tackle Matt Kalil all day.
1. Edwin Williams, G: He played better than he did in his first start against the Seattle Seahawks, but missed enough blocks to prompt offensive coordinator Mike Tice to make a change by inserting undrafted rookie James Brown. Williams possesses the strength and nasty demeanor to be a dominating force inside. But he misses too many blocks when asked to go one-on-one in space. Williams played 36 snaps against the Vikings before Brown replaced him for the last 44.
2. Devin Hester, WR/PR: Caught five of the eight passes thrown his way for 39 yards playing for the first time all season in the slot, a spot he should've been playing since the start of 2012. While it was refreshing to see the team involve Hester more, he dropped a sure touchdown pass on an easily-catchable ball. As a returner, he broke a 21-yard punt return. But he's been too indecisive to make the impact he's made in the past.
3. Nick Roach, LB: Filled in at middle linebacker for the injured Brian Urlacher, and immediately surrendered Adrian Peterson's 51-yard gain on the first play of the game. Roach played better as the game progressed, making nine tackles, including two stops for lost yardage. But his slip on the opening play made a major difference in Minnesota's opening-drive touchdown. Look for better performances from Roach over the last three games.