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updated: 12/26/2010 9:09 PM

Forte continues hot streak in win over Jets

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  • Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) looks for running room as New York Jets cornerback Dwight Lowery (26) pressures him during the Chicago Bears and New York Jets game at Soldier Field in Chicago Sunday, December 26, 2010.

      Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) looks for running room as New York Jets cornerback Dwight Lowery (26) pressures him during the Chicago Bears and New York Jets game at Soldier Field in Chicago Sunday, December 26, 2010.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

Matt Forte continues to get stronger as the season goes along.

And plenty of the credit can be traced the offensive line, which continues to play better the longer it stays together.

Sunday's game was the eighth straight with the same players at the same five O-line positions. The Bears have won seven of those games, and in the last six, Forte has rushed for 508 yards on just 97 carries, a 5.2-yard average.

"I think they're getting a little confidence, each week getting better and better," Forte said of the line. "That's what we want to do, just get better each week. They did a great job. It's one of their best games. They protected the quarterback pretty well and we ran the ball well."

Forte rushed for 113 yards against the Jets, averaging 5.9 yards on 19 carries, including a 22-yard TD run. Forte also caught 4 passes for 56 yards.

Not a bad day.

"No, it wasn't," he said. "I'm just proud of our team, especially the offensive line. That was a good defense, and they pushed them around up front and allowed me to get through some holes."

The Jets came in with the No. 4 run defense, but Forte became the first Bears running back since Thomas Jones on Sept. 26, 2004 to rush for more than 100 yards and have more than 50 rushing yards.

Forte goes into Sunday's season finale just 22 yards shy of 1,000 yards, and his 4.4-yard average is a career best.

It's big jump from last year, when he slumped to 929 yards and a 3.6-yard average after a rookie season of 1,238 yards and a 3.9-yard average.

"You have to run the ball this time of the year," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Matt Forte was outstanding (again), like he has been lately."

The Bears have rushed for more than 100 yards in each of their 7 wins in the past eight weeks. They topped 100 yards on the ground just two times in their first seven games.

"We're coming together," right guard Roberto Garza said. "We've still got a long way to go; we're still a work in progress, but we know what we can do, and coach (Mike) Martz is doing a great job of taking advantage of what the defense is doing. We just have to give our guys opportunities, open the holes for the running backs and give Jay (Cutler) time to throw."

Cutler was sacked 44 times in his first 11 games but just five times in the past three games.

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