Minus Jay Cutler, Bears run like they haven't in two decades

Missing Jay Cutler on Sunday the Chicago Bears re-invented themselves on the fly with offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

The team that was third-to-last in the NFL in rushing attempts pounded the ball on the ground as Matt Forte had a career day, gaining 166 yards and scoring two touchdowns on runs of 68 and 18 yards. Chester Taylor, who had been an afterthought through the first four games, got 18 carries for 43 yards and the Bears totaled 218 yards, their most since gaining 223 in a 1990 meeting with the then Phoenix Cardinals.

Turns out the big day rushing in a 23-6 victory over the Carolina Panthers was absolutely needed. Fill-in quarterback Todd Collins was atrocious and wound up getting removed late in the third quarter for Caleb Hanie.

“It’s hard to say exactly why we got (the running game) going,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “We were committed to it and the guys did a great job of blocking up front. I mentioned some of the younger players, talk about the entire offensive line. Been saying a lot about them when some things haven’t been going well, but they did a super job of setting it up, and then you have good running backs.

“That was definitely old school, Bears’ ball right there for sure, where you ran the football, played great defense, got some turnovers, some takeaway and special teams contributed. We know how to win games that way and it was and it was god to see that we can still do that. I’m not saying we’re getting off the bus running the ball or anything, I’m just going to stay away from those comments, but today we needed to and we were able to.”

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