Forte thriving for Bears in early going
August, 24, 2013
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com
AP Photo/Ben MargotMatt Forte ran for 76 yards and caught a 32-yard TD pass in Friday's win.
OAKLAND, Calif. -- With every attempt, Matt Forte’s confidence grows in his club’s zone-blocking schemes, which allow the running back to showcase some of his best attributes.
Over his past four quarters, Forte has averaged 10.7 yards per attempt, and he finished with 76 yards on six attempts Friday in the Chicago Bears' 34-26 win over the Oakland Raiders.
“What makes the zone blocking good is those linemen get push off the ball,” Forte said. “When they can do that, I can be patient and just sit back and read the blocking. So [while] there’s a place where the play is designed to go, you can just use your vision. If I want to, I can cut it all the way back. Or I can just pick a hole. That’s what makes it so nice.”
Success with the rushing attack also tends to open up the passing attack. Forte rushed for 15 yards on three attempts during Chicago’s first offensive series Friday. On the first play of the second series, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler popped up and hit Forte on a short pass to the right side, and the running back romped 32 yards for a touchdown.
“What’s most impressive is the blocks he got on the perimeter on that touchdown by [receiver] Alshon [Jeffery] and [tight end] Martellus [Bennett],” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “Matt’s an all-purpose player. He’s a three-down player. He can run. He’s a very good pass receiver, and it just helps spread the field even more with the players that we have.”
Cutler called Forte “scary out there” on the field.
“I think he’s getting more and more comfortable with the running lanes, the blocking schemes we’re putting him in,” Cutler said.
Forte has rushed for 150 yards on 14 attempts over the club’s past two exhibition outings.
“We’ve got to expect to come out and play like that every game, and not just because we had a couple big plays and a couple nice runs we get all out of control like, ‘We’ve arrived as an offense,’” Forte said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’re looking forward to getting better every week.”