This Thread For the Sole Use of Jerry Angelo and DaBears Members...........
Forte continues to pile up yardage and bargaining power
Urlacher: 'If he's not the best player in the NFL right now, I don't know who is'
- By David Haugh, Chicago Tribune reporter 8:42 p.m. CDT, October 23, 2011
LONDON — Around Chicago, you need not know a salary cap from a chapeau to have heard that Bears running back Matt Forte is making a mere $600,000 this season. By now we nearly have grown weary of hearing Forte referred to as the most underpaid player in the NFL.
After Forte rushed for 145 yards on 25 carries in the Bears' 24-18 victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday at Wembley Stadium, Brian Urlacher livened up the discussion.
"If he's not the best player in the NFL right now, I don't know who is," Urlacher said of Forte. "Look at his numbers — running the football, catching the football, everything he's done. I know he doesn't have a lot of touchdowns, but you look at everything he's done for our offense … he's made a lot of plays for us."
Football's best bargain made more big plays against the Bucs in a pivotal win, opening with a bang and closing with a flourish.
On the Bears' second series, Forte found a hole running right behind pulling guard Chris Spencer and did the rest himself with instincts and open-field vision that makes him so dangerous. A crushing downfield block from Dane Sanzenbacher also helped, but Forte's 32-yard TD will be remembered for the way he cut sharply without losing a step.
"It's not like I developed some special moves over the offseason," Forte said. "I'd say it was great blocking and good patience. You've got to know when you get a chance like that to get out in the open field."
One such chance came when the Bears needed it most with 4 minutes, 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter. With the Bucs thinking rally after trimming the lead to 21-18, the Bears faced first-and-15. The Bears caught Tampa in a blitz and Forte alertly turned his head quickly enough to catch a swing pass after crossing the face of the defensive end. It left a vacated secondary. The 36-yard swing pass set up a 25-yard Robbie Gould field goal that made the Bucs' final desperation drive easier to watch for Bears fans from Wembley to Wilmette.
"It's a route up the sideline and they were bringing pressure and it was wide open," Forte said.
So remain the possibilities for Forte, new contract or not. He was so good in Britain that he could have asked for an average of 8 million a year in pounds and teammates would have screamed, "Pay the man!"
"I'm not worried about being motivated for whatever reason," Forte said. "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."
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