The graceful Matt Forte has a habit of making outstanding plays appear relatively easy. There is an efficiency to his game you come to appreciate when watching Forté over and over on film. He has done a lot of little things throughout his illustrious career and that has made Forté one of the most productive backs in the NFL.
The Security Blanket
Play 1: The situation for the Bears is third-and-long. Jay Cutler is in shotgun formation and he has Forté lined up to his left. Forté is patient with his release out of the backfield, so he creates some green in front of him. Cutler, who held the inside 'backer with his eyes as you can see the defender take a quick look at TE Martellus Bennett, drops it off and Forté gets up the field in a hurry. After picking up the first down, Forté drops a nifty move on the safety and breaks an arm tackle. And towards the end of the run when some backs might be looking to get out of bounds, Forté takes everything he can get.
Play 2: Now faced with a third-and-short, Cutler has Forté lined up to his right. The Cards show pressure at the line, but they end up rushing only four defenders. Cutler can't find anything to his left and the quarterback's movement creates excellent space for Forté . Instead of sticking with Forté, the Cards DB commits and Forte has an easy first down. But what's special about Forté is he catches the ball at the CHI 25 and now the fun begins. He flawlessly cuts at the 31, leaving a pair of Cardinals defenders to overpursue and he isn't brought down until the 43-yard line. He consistently gets the most out of every play.
Play 3: Again the Bears are in the gun, but it's second down. The Bears motion Forté from Cutler's right to his left and the latter is moving laterally as the ball is snapped. This is Cutler's primary read all the way and Forté gets the ball with a few yards of cushion. He has a pair of wide receivers blocking down the field and his first charge is to beat the Lions linebacker in his 1-on-1 matchup. In an instant, the heady Forté sees he can create a block for the 'backer by taking an angle to the sideline. That is a great block, but Forté is thinking more than first down. He walks the tightrope down the sideline and receives another block in the process before finishing in the end zone. An end zone view allows you to see Forté watching the inside 'backer during the initial motion.
Play 4:* *Forté has sure hands, but he is an excellent route runner as well He can get linebackers back on their heels in no time. Interesting formation here as Forté lines up a couple of yards in front of Cutler on first down. Trailing big to the Vikings, the Bears are in an obvious passing situation. The Vikings 'backer wants to keep everything in front, so he gives Forté some cushion on his release. Cutler throws the ball before Forte breaks to the sideline and Forté has no problem snagging the rock over his head. After looking it in, Forté turns up field at the 42 and beats the diving linebacker up the boundary. And he does not go out of bounds – delivering a blow to the cornerback before finally being angled out at the 28.
Play 5: The Bears are pulling their linemen and Forté is following his blockers. Athleticism and strength is a must for running backs, but so is patience and vision. Forté has no panic to his game and he has fantastic eyes. Here he even gives his lineman a polite nudge on the derrière and then cuts inside. And he is a strider, so the speed is deceptive. Forté never looks like he is in fifth gear, but defenders aren't catching up. Again Forte does an extraordinary job cutting, running through arm tackles and making the most of his carry.
Play 6: Forté has an early crease up the middle, but he bounces outside and sets himself up against an overmatched defensive back. Like a receiver selling his route, Forté seemingly always is moving forward and he creates a guessing game. When he gets you to lean a slight way, it's over. And this dude finishes. The end zone view allows you to see what he sees and a lot of guys might take this ball and get a sizeable gain up the gut. But Forté is a master at setting up blocks and finding more real estate.
Play 7: This looks run from the start as the Bears have only 1 WR in the game. When Forté takes the handoff, there doesn't appear to be much real estate at all and one of his linemen is actually knocked backed in his lap. But the calm Forté simply bides his time and then cuts across the field. Then before a defender closes, Forté switches the ball from his left hand to his right hand so he can deliver the stiff-arm. Forté makes contact with the defender at the 28 and he is not brought down until the 42.
Play 8: The Jets linemen will love Forté because he is so patient. He'll allow you the time you need to get on your block and then he has it from there. The Bears pull to the right and Forté gets the gap he needs in the middle. Again he flashes the stiff-arm on a falling defensive linemen and very nearly beats the safety for what might have been a huge gainer.