Forte tops 1,000 total yards in 7 games

LONDON -- Roy Williams called Matt Forte the best player on the Chicago Bears roster a couple of weeks ago.

On Sunday, six-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Brian Urlacher upped the ante.

"I think he's the best player in the NFL right now," Urlacher said. "You look at everything he's done this year, it's just amazing. He's done everything. Improvement? He's been good if you ask me. The way he plays, he just makes plays in the run or the pass every single game."

Forte was once again the Bears main offensive weapon in the 24-18 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The all-purpose back rushed for 145 yards on 25 carries and caught two passes for another 38 yards. Through seven games, Forte has accumulated 1,091 yards from scrimmage.

He's the first player at any position in seven years to gain 1,000 yards through seven games.

"Forte is a great player," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "He's proven that every time he played all year."

The running back dazzled the Wembley Stadium crowd with a 32-yard first quarter touchdown run that showcased Forte's elusiveness. Several Tampa defenders had a shot to bring down Forte, but all missed the mark as the running back cut back more than once before reaching the end zone.

"It's not like I developed some special moves over the offseason," Forte said. "When the offensive line can get on a guy and continue to make a block or help me, if I use patience and they overrun a play I can cut it back. It was a great job by the offensive line of being patient.

"When you get the opportunity to make a big play you've got to make the most of it. I've got to take advantage of it every time I get into the open field to make a big play, and I've been trying to do that."

This marks the third time in the last four weeks Forte topped 100 yards rushing, which naturally leads to the topic of Forte's quest for a long-term contract extension. Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said earlier in the month there had been no progress towards finalizing a deal with Forte, despite the running back's hot start. Angelo accompanied the Bears to London and watched the game from a seat in the Wembley Stadium's outdoor press area.

"I'm motivated every year," Forte said. "I'm not worried about being motivated for whatever reason. It's not like I come out and play the game because I'm mad or something. I come out and succeed for my teammates and for myself."