During the Bears win over the over the Saints last Thursday, the scariest image for Bears fans was not watching the lead go from 14 points to 0 points, or seeing the Saints quarterback Drew Brees play so well under pressure. No, it was watching Matt Forte leave the field limping. Luckily, he has recovered from turf toe and is expected to play in Chicago's game with Green Bay. But with the Bears current offensive scheme, it is incredible that it took this long for Forte to sustain an injury.
Forte is in the top five of the league for both overall attempts and attempts per game, but would probably be higher on the list if he would have played a full game against New Orleans
. His 1539 all-purpose yards accounts for 36 percent of the Bears' offense. Forte answers the call, to be sure, but at some point his body was going to feel the punishment that happens to a running back who has more than 20 carries a game.
The Redskins' Clinton Portis
, another rushing leader, was the odds-on favorite to win the MVP before injuries started to affect him. The huge difference between Portis and Forte is that Portis has been in the league for seven years and has been tackled many more times. Forte, a 23-year-old rookie, should not be feeling the same pains as Portis, a 27-year-old veteran. The similarity between these two is that both teams rely on them entirely too much.
Chicago needs to figure out a way to spread around the offensive love. The two-back system of Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones was effective for the Bears, so much so that they went to the Super Bowl with that scheme. A competent quarterback and receiving corps could also give Forte a break.
The Bears need to recognize that even though Forte has come through for them this season, this will not last if he continues to feel the brunt of 250-lb. linebackers jumping on him. The turf toe is just the beginning. Without some help on offense through better receivers and another option on the ground, the Bears are dooming Forte.