Bears notebook: Matt Forte displays his versatility in Bears’ rout
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com
RUNNING BACKS: A Like Cutler, Matt Forte was productive in a limited role, with 12 carries for 103 yards and a TD and 2 receptions for 45 yards. He had gains of 47, 46, 16 and 15 yards. But his 8-yard TD run was the most impressive.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Instead of getting more touches Sunday, Matt Forte got fewer against the Tennessee Titans. He just did more with them.
With only 12 carries and two receptions, Forte showed off his versatility and efficiency in the Bears’ 51-20 rout of the Titans. He had a combined 148 yards on the 14 touches, rushing for 103 yards and a touchdown and adding 45 yards receiving.
But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Forte ran left for 15 yards. He ran right for 46. He ran up the middle for a tough-as-nails eight-yard touchdown, driving Titans defenders into the end zone for the final three yards. On a well-executed draw play, he gained 22 yards on third-and-21 for a first down. And he gained 47 yards on an equally well-executed screen pass.
‘‘We took a big step in the right direction,’’ Forte said. ‘‘It started off a little slow. The defense and special teams got us going with turnovers and the touchdown. We did a great job.’’
Forte said he got some help from his teammates on the touchdown run, when he bulled his way in after meeting resistance inside the 5.
‘‘That was help from the offensive line,’’ Forte said. ‘‘They made a great block. The hole was right there. I think I got to the two-yard line and started getting hit, and the line came and knocked me into the end zone. I didn’t do it on my own.’’
Forte also credited his teammates for making key blocks on the 47-yard screen pass. Guard Lance Louis and tight end Kellen Davis had key blocks.
‘‘Lance made a great block, and then I got a couple of guys blocking downfield and made the safety miss,’’ Forte said. ‘‘You do that, and you can make a big play out of it.’’
Soldier Field South
Bears fans seemed to outnumber Titans fans at LP Field and owned the stadium as the rout ensued.
‘‘Coach [Lovie] Smith said this is Soldier Field South today,’’ cornerback Kelvin Hayden said. ‘‘We just wanted to make it worth their while.’’
‘‘Today was like a home game,’’ defensive end Israel Idonije said. ‘‘The fans [were] chanting, ‘Go, Bears.’ We have the greatest fans in all of professional sports. The support. The way they travel. The ability to take over a game and drown out the home-field advantage. That’s hard to find. The dedication of our fans is unparalleled.’’
Idonije ‘sore’ but OK
Idonije (left leg) and defensive tackle Henry Melton (back) left the game after suffering injuries in the first half. But each said his injury isn’t serious, and both expect to play Sunday against the Houston Texans.
Idonije’s injury appeared to be serious at first.
‘‘It sounded bad,’’ linebacker Brian Urlacher said. ‘‘Any time you get one of your teammates down there screaming like that, it’s not a good thing. But I think he’s going to be OK, hopefully.’’
‘‘I got rolled up, but I’m OK,’’ Idonije said. ‘‘I’m sore now, but it’ll be all right. I’m fortunate that I can play through pain.’’
Devin Hester nearly gave the Bears’ special teams a second touchdown in the first quarter when he returned a punt 44 yards to the Titans’ eight-yard line, where he was tackled by running back Jamie Harper. Forte scored on the next play to give the Bears a 14-2 lead.
It was Hester’s longest punt return of the season. His previous best was 23 yards.
When Louis retrieved a deflected pass inside the Titans’ 10-yard line in the third quarter, he was thinking what everyone on the Bears thinks when he gets the ball.
‘‘I was definitely thinking end zone, but things didn’t work out,’’ Louis said.
Louis was tackled at the 4 for a four-yard gain that led to a 22-yard field goal by Robbie Gould that gave the Bears a 37-12 lead.
‘‘I just wanted to get the ball and make sure none of their guys intercepted it,’’ Louis said. ‘‘It was definitely exciting. It brought back memories of the tight end days in college.’’