The Chicago Bears, one of the NFL’s hottest teams, will have their mettle tested in the season’s final weeks.
Matchups against the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and New England Patriots still await the current NFC North division leader. Before that, however, they will hit the road to take on the 2-9 Detroit Lions this coming Sunday.
Matt Forte, the team’s leading rusher, says the Bears aren’t looking ahead.
“[It’s] not very difficult at all [to focus on the Lions],” Forte told ESPN 1000’s “Afternoon Saloon.” “Detroit’s a good team. We’re not going to look past them. We had a tough game with them at the beginning of the year and it came down to the end. I don’t think we are going to look past anybody cause if we don’t win the game coming up, [the other games] don’t really mean that much.”
Forte referenced the Bears’ Week 1 clash with Detroit, which Chicago won largely due to a controversial replay that went in its favor on a Calvin Johnson touchdown. The Bears team that will be traveling to Detroit this coming weekend is far different from the one that nearly lost to the Lions on the season’s first week.
Offensively, the Bears struggled mightily to run the ball during the first half of the season. That trend seemed to turn after the team’s bye in Week 8. In the past four games, Forte is averaging nearly 4.5 yards per a carry.
He says that his improved production is due to the team putting more emphasis on the run early in games.
“I think we’ve just been focusing on it,” Forte said. “We’ve been focusing on the run more than when we started out in the beginning of the season. We needed to get the right parts on the line together so we could improve the run game.”
Forte believes that offensive coordinator Mike Martz sees the value of going to the run early in games.
“Like I said, we’re focusing more on establishing that run game,” Forte said. “[Martz] knows that when we try and establish the run game first, that’s going to help out with the passing later in the game so that’s what we’re going to try to do.”