Forte needs bigger role vs. Packers

December, 16, 2012
12/16/12
5:36
AM ET
Matt ForteAP Photo/Paul SpinelliIf the Bears have any chance of beating Green Bay, Matt Forte will have to play a big role.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Given the Bears' injuries on offense and their lack of proven options in the passing game outside of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, Sunday seems like an ideal time to ask Matt Forte to carry the ball 30 times versus a Green Bay defense that ranks No. 15 stopping the run.

But for whatever reason, Forte has not enjoyed the same level of success he did last year when the running back got named to his first Pro Bowl and eventually signed a four-year extension that contained roughly $17 million in guarantees.

Just look at the numbers.

In the 12 games Forte participated in last year before he suffered a season-ending knee injury, the all-purpose back gained 997 rushing yards on 203 carries (4.9) and caught 52 balls for 490 yards.

In the same exact span of 12 games in 2012, Forte's numbers have dipped to 834 rushing yards on 192 attempts (4.3) and 36 receptions for 248 yards. Forte was inactive in Week 3 against St. Louis.

However, Forte ran the ball effectively last week in the Metrodome when he gained 85 rushing yards on just 13 carries, including a 36-yard run, which prompted Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice to call for Forte to be a bigger part of the offensive game plan this weekend at Soldier Field.

"We want to keep finding ways to get Matt [the ball]," Tice said. "Matt's hot right now. We've got to find ways to get him more touches. He's one of the playmakers that is coming through for us, being explosive. He had a couple of great runs. We've just got to keep going down that alley."

Forte carried the ball only seven times the last time the Bears faced the Packers in Week 2, and the outcome was disastrous in a 23-10 loss. Because the Bears ignored the ground game, Green Bay was able to blast Jay Cutler to the tune of seven sacks while the quarterback did his team no favors by throwing four interceptions.

The Bears must realize they cannot come into Sunday with the same exact plan and expect to win.

Otherwise, as Forte pointed out earlier in the week, the season could be over.

"It's really win or nothing else after that," Forte said. "We got to win. If we want to make the playoffs, we basically have to win."

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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