If Matt Forte's plan is to let his performance on the field speak for him and his desire to get a contract extension from the Bears, it's working pretty well.
Since negotiations broke down without an agreement before the start of the regular season, Forte hasn't said much about it.
"The holes were there. It was wide open. There wasn't much to say, or much to do, but run," Forte said after rushing for a career-best 205 yards on Sunday. "The offensive line did a great job. We (just) had to pick the right hole to run to."
But his actions have spoken volumes. Through four games, he should be included in any discussion of this season's offensive MVP. His 634 yards from scrimmage are second-best in the NFL, just one behind Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker.
Forte's 5.4 yards per carry are sixth-best in the league among running backs, and he leads the Bears by a wide margin with 26 receptions and 310 receiving yards.
Forte hasn't said much about the awkward contract situation, but in late September, he told Pro Football Weekly: "Obviously somebody doesn't believe I'm an elite running back."
RB Matt Forte
Rob Grabowski/US Presswire
The numbers tell a different story.
His 954 yards from scrimmage in the last six regular-season games are the most in the NFL and 190 yards more than the Chargers' Ryan Matthews, who is second. In just his fourth season, Forte is already sixth in franchise history with 5,360 yards from scrimmage, and at his current pace will be No. 3 on the list by the end of the season, passing Hall of Famer Gale Sayers and Rick Casares, who played 10 seasons.
--PR/KR Devin Hester was named NFC special teams player of the week after recording 142 return yards on just 2 touches.
He set an NFL record last Sunday with his 11th career punt-return touchdown, a 69-yarder, against the Panthers. That came on his 182nd career punt return, and it snapped a tie with Eric Metcalf, whose 10 punt-return touchdowns came on 351 attempts.
Hester also had a 73-yard kickoff return that up the Bears' second touchdown.
It was the 10th special teams player of the week award for Hester, the most ever by a return specialist.
--RB Matt Forte's teammates know how valuable he is, and how underpaid he is. CB D.J. Moore was asked if it seems like Forte should get paid based on his production this season.
"It don't seem like it," Moore said. "He NEEDS ... TO ... GET ... PAID. He's the best player on the team. You've got to do something for him."
In Week 4, Forte rolled up 205 yards, even though RG Chris Spencer fractured his right hand and missed the second quarter and RT Frank Omiyale was benched in the second half, forcing Lance Louis to spend time at both positions. The juggled lineup didn't hurt Forte at all.
"Matt was outstanding," coach Lovie Smith said. "Matt did a great job of making us look good," center Roberto Garza said. "He's so explosive, so fast and he makes people miss. He did a great job out there and we're lucky he's on our team."
--Nickel CB D.J. Moore has shown outstanding elusiveness when he gets his hands on the ball. He returned his first interception of the season 20 yards for a touchdown in Week Four. Last season he had 95 yards on four picks, including a 54-yard TD.
He returned punts and kickoffs in his three years at Vanderbilt, but he's unlikely to get a chance to handle any kicks on the Bears.
"Nahh, we got the greatest returner ever," Moore said, with a nod to Devin Hester. "And we've got his backup, (Johnny Knox) who went to the Pro Bowl his rookie year (as a kickoff returner with a 29.0-yard average), so I would be like fourth or fifth or something like that. I'll just do it on defense."
BY THE NUMBERS: 31 -- Where the Bears' defense, supposedly the strength of the team, ranks in total yards allowed.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We don't just get out there and make up stuff. What was working was the run, especially early on." -- Bears coach Lovie Smith, after his team ran 31 times vs. the Panthers in a Week 4 victory. That followed back-to-back games of 12 running plays, both of which resulted in losses.
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