Matt Forte Plays the Marshall Faulk Role
The biggest misconception of the Martz offense is that he doesn't have much use for running backs. In reality, Martz's greatest success as a coach came in his first three seasons in St. Louis (one as offensive coordinator and two as head coach), when Faulk was his running back and combined for more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage each season.
That's the role Forte, the Bears' starting running back, is now playing. Is Forte as talented as Faulk? No. But he's a diverse run-catch threat who's capable of doing many of the same things that Faulk did in the Rams' offense under Martz.
In the Bears' 19-14 win over the Lions, Forte had a total of 201 yards from scrimmage. On the ground he was mediocre at best -- 50 yards on 17 carries -- but as a receiver he was sensational. He caught a short pass and raced for an 89-yard touchdown late in the first half, and he caught the game-winning touchdown late in the second, diving in the end zone for a 28-yard score.
How important is Forte to the Bears' passing game? Consider this: When throwing to Forte, Jay Cutler was 7-for-7 for 151 yards and two touchdowns, a perfect passer rating of 158.3. When throwing to all his other receivers, Cutler was 16-of-28 for 221 yards, no touchdowns and an interception, a substandard quarterback rating of 67.7.
Chicago fans can't be too happy: The Bears struggled for much of the game, and they barely beat a bad Detroit team. But on a day when a lot went wrong for the Bears, Forte's performance was the difference.