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10 things you need to know about the Bears

Matt Forte has shouldered heavy burden for Bears' offense this seasgetting 35 percent touches accounting for 52 percent yards.

Matt Forte has shouldered a heavy burden for the Bears' offense this season, getting 35 percent of the touches and accounting for 52 percent of the yards.

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Updated: September 22, 2011 2:48PM

There’s no doubt the Bears are getting their money’s worth out of Matt Forte this season. The fourth-year running back accounts for 52 percent of the Bears’ offense, while taking home a little more than one percent of the team’s payroll.

Employee of the month, I’d say.

Contract squabbles aside, here’s the bigger problem: How much longer can Forte physically shoulder the burden of the Bears’ offense?

The lack of durability of NFL running backs is well documented; the more you run them, the more you run them into the ground.

In amassing more than half his team’s offense, Forte has touched the ball on 35 percent of the Bears’ offensive plays. He’s third in the league with 15 receptions.

Wait, wasn’t this the year the Bears were supposed to spread it around? Didn’t coach Lovie Smith say they had never been deeper at wide receiver? Where are the other weapons?

To give you an idea how scary Forte’s numbers are, let’s compare him to the most durable running back of all-time, Walter Payton.

In Payton’s four best years from 1976 to 1979—when he led the league in rushing attempts each season—he touched the ball 39 percent of the time. Don’t forget, this was during the run-happy days of the NFL and the great Bob Avellini was his quarterback. Even with a greater percentage of touches, Sweetness accounted for 46 percent of the Bears’ offense, still far below Forte’s incredible early-season number.

CLICK HERE for nine more things you need to know about the Bears as they get ready to play the archrival Packers on Sunday.

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