Updated: December 30, 2013 6:56PM
Coach Marc Trestman was hired for his ability to cultivate quarterbacking talent, but he made it clear early on that Matt Forte would be the key to the Bears’ offensive success in 2013.
He was thrilled to inherit Forte, who had proved to be a capable every-down back in his previous five seasons, and was committed to getting him more touches.
That was one promise Trestman made good on.
Forte had career highs in rushing yards (1,339) and receiving yards (594) for 1,933 yards from scrimmage.
After his worst game of the season last week in Philadelphia, Forte rebounded Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. He was the Bears’ best offensive player, carrying the ball 22 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns and catching four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown.
It was a performance that earned praise in the locker room despite the disappointing end to the season.
“It’s underrated in the public’s eye,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “He did a heck of a job for us. I think he’s the best all-around back in the NFL.”
Trestman said the coaching staff didn’t expect so much zone coverage by the Packers. That softened up their defensive front.
The Bears adjusted, and much of that fell on Forte.
But the alterations to the game plan didn’t come until the second half. Forte only had eight carries in the first half, but he didn’t lobby to get the ball more.
“I don’t call the plays and I don’t insist on telling them what plays to call,” Forte said. “That’s not my job. My job is to run the play that’s called.”
Forte racked up the yardage despite the loss on the first series of rookie right tackle Jordan Mills, who injured his left foot and did not return.
Eben Britton played the rest of the game on the right side of a line that didn’t have a starter miss an offensive snap all season until Sunday. That continuity certainly contributed to Forte’s career year.
“Matt is just unbelievable, making people miss and getting to the second level,” center Roberto Garza said. “He gets tough yards for us.”