David Montgomery led the Bears with 15 rushes for 122 yards against the Packers.
As bad as the Bears’ offense was against the Packers and as ill-advised as it would be to continue with such a limited passing game, their success on the ground signaled growth.
Rushing for 180 yards at a rate of 6.7 yards per carry is always a good thing in itself. Should the Bears have thrown more, especially trailing by 14 in the fourth quarter? Of course. But building this offense might require several gradual steps.
If the ground game truly has been fixed and is going to roll with the combination of running backs David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert, it’s a start. If the Bears get quarterback Justin Fields clicking in the passing game, then they’d be viable.
“We definitely can run the ball on any team,” Herbert told the Sun-Times. “That’s one thing the o-line and us have been talking about since the spring: With the guys we’ve got, we can do that against anybody.”
Montgomery added, “It’s definitely progress, and we want to build on it. But we’re trying to get everything together so we can do it in all facets.”
Bears coach Matt Eberflus is looking for a balanced game plan from offensive coordinator Luke Getsy against the Texans on Sunday, and a thriving rushing attack should help open things up for Fields. The Texans have allowed 4.7 yards per carry (20th in the NFL) and 76.7 opponent passer rating (sixth).
The thought of the Bears being able to run at will is new after how dismal that aspect was in former coach Matt Nagy’s offense. From 2018 through ’21, the Bears were 26th in the NFL at 4.1 yards per carry.
The improvement is perfect timing for Montgomery, who is in the final season of his rookie contract. He needs to stack up convincing performances to land a major payday in his next deal, and rushing for 122 yards on 15 carries against the Packers was a booming bounce back from getting just 26 on 17 in the opener.
Herbert’s four rushes for 38 yards were a nice contribution, too. Getsy’s plan seems to be for him to have a consistent role in tandem with Montgomery, with an openness to sticking with what’s working.
“It’s really whoever has the hot hand,” Herbert said. “We have our rotation, but if one of us gets hot, the other one is cheering for them to keep going and keep him in. We feed off each other. We compete in that way, and it gets us going.”
Herbert was a sixth-round pick last year and got an opportunity to prove himself as an NFL-ready running back when Montgomery missed four games with a knee injury early in the season. He averaged 86 yards per game and 4.4 per carry, and had nine catches for 44 yards.
But when Montgomery played, he got 83.6% of the running back carries. Stunningly, that figure includes 86.2% after Herbert theoretically showed the Bears what he could do.
Getsy, conversely, came from an …read more
Source:: Chicago Sun Times
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