Wednesday, October 26, 2011
ForteWatch: Chasing Chris Johnson
By Kevin Seifert
Trevor reached out during Tuesday's SportsNation chat:
Trevor (De Pere, WI)
Kevin! We need a ForteWatch up in this blog! He's on pace for over 2,000 yards from scrimmage! LOUD NOISES!
Kevin Seifert (2:16 PM)
I can see that. I need four arms to keep up with all of my Watches....
Trevor must be an experienced NFC North blog reader. Any Will Ferrell movie reference gets you points with the blogger, especially if it's a Brick Tamland line. And if anything, Trevor undersold Forte's season to this point.
Forte isn't just on pace for 2,000 combined rushing and receiving yards, a feat accomplished on 58 occasions in NFL history, according to Pro Football Reference. He has given himself a shot at producing one of the best seasons ever for a running back.
Check out the -- yes -- ForteWatch chart. At his current levels, Forte would finish the 16-game season with 2,493 total yards (rushing and receiving). That total would put him just 16 yards shy of the record set in 2009 by the Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson.
(An aside: If there were ever a time for the Bears to break team policy and re-enter contract negotiations during the season, isn't it now? The Bears are in their bye week, and Forte's market value continues to rise.)
Obviously we still have more than half of the season remaining. Sometimes projecting 16-game performance is a silly exercise at this point in the season, but I think it's worthwhile to note that we have some NFC North players who are off to historic starts. Forte has joined Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson (10 touchdowns) and Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (11.5 sacks) in deserving their own Watches so far this season. We'll obviously add and subtract as needed. (Still trying to decide how to handle Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' sizzling start.)
For those who are curious how Forte's performance compares to the best seven-game starts since 1960, Pro Football Reference's outstanding database has the answer.
Forte's 1,091 yards ranks eighth on a list that includes some pretty important names. Jim Brown totaled 1,193 yards in the first seven games of the 1963 season. Also appearing on the list are Marshall Faulk, O.J. Simpson and Terrell Davis. (Full list here.)
Related: Forte ranks fifth on NFC West blogger Mike Sando's MVP Watch this week.