The Bears went back to their Forte
Mike Martz definitely got the memo.
Ron Rivera apparently did not.
The Bears 39-24 win over Carolina was a “welcome back” moment for both ball clubs. Ron Rivera was coming home to face his former team. And the Bears went back to who they were, you know, before Mike Martz tried to make them a pass-happy attack on shoddy grass near the winds of Lake Michigan.
The Bears literally got back to their Forte. Matt Forte had 25 carries for 205 yards joining him with Hall of Famers Gale Sayers and Walter Payton as the only Bears to rush for over 200 yards. The Bears ran the ball nine straight times to start the game. Jay Cutler didn’t throw a pass until the second quarter. Mike Martz probably called most of it through clenched teeth.
“It was fun,’’ Chris Williams said. “It was a good time.’’
Give credit to Martz for calling a game-plan that worked. The debate is whether it came from him or was forced on him by Lovie Smith.
“Running the football was the plan,” Lovie Smith said. “And today the plan worked.”
And give credit to the offensive line and Mike Tice for fixing what didn’t work last week. Tice has taken a group of guys—most of them playing out of position, and got them to open up holes for Forte so big he thought he was back in the bayou.
“It reminded me of my senior year at Tulane, every weekend getting 200 yards,’’ he said. “All the credit goes to the offensive line. The holes were huge.’’
The problem for this particular game-plan is that it seemingly runs upstream of GM Jerry Angelo’s off-field game plan. Angelo has refused to grant Forte an extension on par with what most think he’s worth—including Forte. But if this keeps up everyone will be clamoring for the Bears to pull the change out of their pockets. Angelo will likely “franchise tag” Forte which would be underhanded but within his right.
“Pay the guy,” D.J. Moore said after the game probably not getting on his bosses good side. “Pay him a lot. If you got money to pay him, pay him. It doesn’t really make sense for you to wait all year.
“The guy’s been doing for what? Four years? So he’s been doing it good every year. You even brought running backs in and paid them more than he gets. It doesn’t really make sense.”
While the Bears offense answered the clue phone Ron Rivera has no excuse for punting to Devin Hester. Hester’s 69-yard touchdown return in the 2nd quarter put him in the record books for the most in history. And I’m guessing it’ll be the last one we see go his way.
“He’s fun to watch,” said a surprisingly upbeat Jay Cutler despite his stat line: 9 of 17 for 102 yards with one interception. “They guy’s so electric. As soon as he touches the ball you know something fun’s going to happen. So, I’m glad he’s on our squad.”
The problem for the Bears is the Packers look unbeatable after Aaron Rodger scored six touchdowns in a 49-23 win over Denver. And the mean ol’ Lions keep roaring along as well. If the Bears can pound the rock like they did at Ford Field and get a win next Monday then it will be clear they are contenders and not pretenders.
It will be tough for Martz as he’ll be back in a dome where he loves to open things up. But as long as he keeps the Bears grounded and doesn’t pretend the Bears are something they’re not, they should have a chance.