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Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Michael Bush filled the goal-to-go role well

By Kevin Seifert

You don't have to go any further than last Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers to understand how valuable tailback Michael Bush was to the Chicago Bears this season.

Bush
Bush
Forte
Forte
Unable to play because of a rib injury that officially ended his season Tuesday, Bush could only watch as starter Matt Forte failed on three attempts to score from the Packers' 5-yard line in the third quarter. Forte gained 4 yards on his first carry, was stopped for no gain on his next two and the Bears were forced to kick a field goal in what became a 21-13 loss.

The Bears signed Bush in part to help them in the goal-to-go situations that Forte has routinely failed in during his career. This season, Bush got the carry on 11 such situations and scored five touchdowns, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Forte has one touchdown on eight such carries this season, giving him just 10 touchdowns in 94 career goal-to-go carries. Bush, on the other hand, has 22 touchdowns on 68 goal-to-go carries.

The Bears' decision to give the ball to Forte on those three consecutive carries was one of the most predictable failures of their season. Bush said during training camp that he preferred not to be pigeon-holed in such a role, but on this team it made perfect sense to use him that way.

Note: The Bears re-signed running back Kahlil Bell to replace Bush on the roster. It's likely that Armando Allen will serve as Forte's backup Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.