Forte pitches in for Bears’ 33-28 win over Chargers
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter August 15, 2013 10:21PM
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Updated: August 16, 2013 10:10AM
There’s a new coach in town, and a new, more modern offense is being installed, but the Bears got off their clichéd bus running on Thursday.
Coach Marc Trestman wanted to give the San Diego Chargers a full dose of running back Matt Forte. He wanted to give Forte the touches he didn’t have last week in their first preseason game, and he wanted Forte to get a real feel for the new-look offense.
And by doing so, Trestman might have provided a preview during the Bears’ 33-28 victory of what’s to come this season. The plays and ways Forte gets the ball will change — he’ll undoubtedly be a part of their West Coast passing game — because the Bears are still figuring out what works best.
But it’s the concerted effort to get Forte the ball that should be remembered, and it should be noted that Trestman said that more game-planning would be involved for the second preseason game.
Like offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said during training camp: “Our idea is to get [Forte] the ball as much as possible.”
Forte had eight carries for 74 yards and a three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Forte’s biggest highlight was a 58-yard run down the left sideline and around star safety Eric Weddle on a pitch play after receiving a nice block from left tackle Jermon Bushrod on cornerback Shareece Wright.
“It was a very well-blocked play,” Forte said.
Seeing Forte get a goal-line carry definitely was a break from the past. It also came behind new teammates: rookies Kyle Long (right guard) and Jordan Mills (right tackle), fullback Tony Fiammetta and tight end Martellus Bennett. Some of Forte’s runs also included the new zone-blocking schemes the Bears are installing.
“Part of our philosophy was to allow our guys to come off the line of scrimmage to see where we were up front first and give Matt an opportunity just to assert himself,” Trestman said. “We were able to break some runs, and that’s an important start for our offense to gain the confidence necessary to run the football first at Soldier Field and throughout the league.”
Forte’s production paced a decent showing from the first-team offense, which was aided by another impressive, turnover-producing performance by the defense in the first quarter.
Quarterback Jay Cutler had his tough moments, but he finished 4-for-5 for 38 yards and a five-yard touchdown to receiver Brandon Marshall. The Bears led 14-0 after the first quarter.
It also was a big change from the preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers. Forte had only one carry for a one-yard loss and one reception for five yards in limited action. The Bears had runs called for Forte against the Panthers, but Cutler checked down, which pleased Trestman because they were the right calls, and passes were completed.
It might have only been a preseason game against an opponent expected to struggle, but getting Forte involved looked like a pretty good plan. Backup Michael Bush even got 11 carries.
“It’s kind of imperative to come out and run the ball and establish that run game,” Forte said, “because in practice you can run the ball, but you’re not getting hit and tackled, so you kind of need that going into the season.”