Matt Forte joins Bears history with 205-yard game

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte put his name in the team’s record books with two of the greatest ever.

He joined Walter Payton and Gale Sayers as the only backs in franchise history to rush for more than 200 yards in a game, piling up 205 on 25 carries in Sunday’s 34-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers. It was a huge day on the ground for the Bears, who gained 224 as a team, their most since a 1988 meeting with the Green Bay Packers.

In one game, the Bears rushed for 83 more yards than they had in the previous three combined, a testament to how annoyed offensive coordinator Mike Martz was with the thought of the run in the previous two games – losses to the New Orleans Saints and Packers. Martz called 95 pass plays and only 20 runs in the previous two games, but he came out with a heavy dose of Forte on Sunday, calling runs on the first nine plays. Thirty of the offense’s 49 plays went through Forte (25 carries, 5 pass targets) and if the Bears figured out they’re a running offense, maybe the win will go a long way toward solving some of the team’s issues.

“It reminded me of my senior year at Tulane, every weekend getting 200 yards,” Forte said. “But all the credit goes to the offensive line. The holes were huge out there. Even toward the end of the game we just kept pounding them and pounding them. The offensive line wore the defense out.

“Once the offensive line takes care of the defensive line, I can get in the open field and the receivers make big blocks downfield. If you make somebody miss, there's a lot of yardage out there to get.”

Forte has rushed for 324 yards and gained 310 yards receiving giving him 634 of the team’s 1,231 yards of offense. That’s 51.5 percent, a mind-boggling figure and one that can only bolster the running back’s position in a standoff with the team for a new contract.

“Matt is amazing,” Bears nickel cornerback D.J. Moore said. “You have to put some change in his pocket. There’s pretty much nothing else to say about that. Twenty-five carries for (205). You don’t see 200 too often.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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