With 268 carries and 54 receptions, Matt Forte is averaging 25 touches per game. Considering he's a rookie and never played more than 13 games a year in college, football fans everywhere are awaiting his slam into the proverbial "rookie wall." The Bears don't think it's coming.
"There is no wall!" rookie teammate Marcus Harrison shouted Sunday as reporters gathered around Forte's locker.
I don't think there's a wall for Forte either. He's too well-conditioned and mentally tough to break down in the last three games, especially against three weak rushing defenses -- Saints, Packers, and Texans. Forte weaved through the stout Vikings interior for 96 yards on 22 carries.
With the Bears playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the offense's hope rests on the strong shoulders of this rookie. Without him, they would be lost. The passing attack couldn't consistently continue without the threat of Forte's running, and Kevin Jones or Adrian Peterson would be a significant downgrade from the former Tulane star.
What I like most about Forte is that he continues to show his quality attitude. Not one time this season have a seen any hint of arrogance. He's starting to gather comparisons to solid backs of the past, and each time shrugs it off.
For example, Jack Del Rio -- head coach of Jacksonville who just saw Forte up close -- threw out the name Marcus Allen. There have been other high-profile backs mentioned, but Forte always responds the same way.
"Those are big-name guys and I'm just starting out," Forte said.
As I've said before, he's the antithesis of Cedric Benson in Chicago, both on and off the field. Benson was simultaneously cocky and indifferent, while failing to even approach expectations on the field. Forte's already surpassing expectations with fire and humility. I can't count the number of times I've said to myself, "if that was Benson, he'd already be down," on Forte runs this season.
Hopefully the future is just as bright as the present, because the Bears could certainly use the stability an elite feature back would bring to the offense.
What Rookie Wall? Matt Forte is Running Stronger As the Weeks Pass originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Tue, 09 Dec 2008 16:18:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.