SAN DIEGO -- Jeremy Langford had been waiting for this moment.
Matt Forte's knee injury opened the door for the Bears to feature Langford -- the club’s 2015 fourth-round draft choice -- in the backfield. Even though Ka’Deem Carey technically started the game, Langford played the majority of the snaps, finishing with 142 all-purpose yards, one touchdown and a two-point conversion.
“I said last week that we were in good hands with Jeremy. ... I was right,” Bears tight end Martellus Bennett said.
Let’s just say Langford had extra motivation heading into Monday night.
The running back admitted that his late drop in Chicago’s Week 8 loss to Minnesota was fresh in his mind as he prepared to take on the Chargers.
“That was my whole point, to make up for that play last game,” Langford said. “You want to forget about those plays, but when the coaches trust you and Jay Cutler trusts you, you have to go out there and make that play.”
Langford redeemed himself.
Until reserve tight end Zach Miller stole the show with his game-winning touchdown grab, the nation was buzzing over Langford’s second-quarter, 31-yard diving catch.
“Football is about confidence, to feel like you can go out there and make that big play the team needs me to make,” Langford said.
Cutler added: “Jeremy came back and made a few really good catches for me and we really needed that kind of play.”
The team is clearly confident in Langford. He is the heir apparent to Forte, who may not return for several weeks and becomes a free agent after the season. Even when Forte does come back, the expectation is for Langford to enjoy an increased role.
“He’s dual-purpose,” Bears coach John Fox said. “He can catch. The catch he made on the go route … wide receivers have a tough time on that catch. He’s explosive. He can take short runs and make them into long runs. I thought he had a great night.”
Likely the first of many great nights for Langford in a Bears uniform.