In his weekly press conference, Jets offensive coordinator John Morton praised running back Matt Forte as he led the team in Week 7 with five receptions and 41 yards in addition to his 41 yards on the ground.
However, his most impressive play contained flashes of vintage Forté. Facing a third-and-19 late in the first quarter, Morton dialed up a screen to the 31-year-old, who patiently waited for his blockers and deftly weaved his way through the Dolphins defense for a 21-yard gain to keep the chains moving.
"That was an unbelievable play," Morton said. "I told our team on Monday, 'watch that play.' That effort, that determination. It was third down and 18. We got the blocks and then he did the last 10-12 yards on his own. That's the kind of drive and determination we need every single play, all the way until the end of the game. That was a great example of a veteran guy and he's always been a good screen runner. I thought that was remarkable, didn't you?"
Three plays later, quarterback Josh McCown found wide receiver Robby Anderson in the end zone to give the Green & White a 14-7 lead.
"I was just focused on getting a first down on a play like that," Forté said. "It developed well. We ran a screen earlier in the game that really popped for us, so we went back to it."
After a career-low 263 receiving yards last year in an offense that primarily used the backs only as rushers, the 10-year vet has registered 158 yards on 19 receptions through seven games and is on pace for 361 yards on 43 catches. Forté likes Morton's offense and often picks the brain of wideout Jermaine Kearse for tips to improve his game out of the backfield.
"I've been split out in different positions more this year and been able to win matchups on linebackers or safeties," he said. "Just like I imagined in this offense, I've been able to catch not only screens but intermediate routes as well."
Since his return in Week 6 from a turf toe injury, the 6'2", 218-pounder has racked up 63 yards on the ground on 16 carries for an average of 4.1 yards a clip as well as 100 yards through the air while reeling in all 13 of his targets. Against the Patriots, he became the 34th player to break 14,000 career scrimmage yards and now ranks No. 32 all-time with 14,109.
"The last couple games he's looked really good," Morton said. "I think he's healthy and feels really good. These guys play a long time. He takes care of his body as much as he can."
This season, Forté has represented one-third of the Jets' rushing attack as he splits carries with Bilal Powell, who leads with the team with 60 carries for 283 yards, and rookie Eli McGuire. Last game marked the first time since Week 3 all three backs were healthy and they combined for an average of 4.8 yards per rush.
"That's kind of the tip of the iceberg," Forté said. "I think [Powell] had nine carries and I only had seven. We averaged between four and five yards. I think if we can do that, but add more into the rushing game, we can really get after teams that way and just keep rolling. Eli has been doing the same as well, so we have three backs that are capable. I think we can do that pretty well and keep it balanced."