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updated: 9/11/2011 8:34 PM

Bears' Matt Forte flaunts his value

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  • The Bears Matt Forte gains yardage in the first quarter before he is tackled by the Falcons' Thomas DeCoud on Sunday at Soldier Field.

      The Bears Matt Forte gains yardage in the first quarter before he is tackled by the Falcons' Thomas DeCoud on Sunday at Soldier Field.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • The Bears' Matt Forte shakes off the Falcons' Sean Weatherspoon (56) and Brent Grimes on his way to a 56-yard touchdown on a screen pass in the first half Sunday at Soldier Field.

      The Bears' Matt Forte shakes off the Falcons' Sean Weatherspoon (56) and Brent Grimes on his way to a 56-yard touchdown on a screen pass in the first half Sunday at Soldier Field.
    Associated Press

 

If the Bears are uncomfortable giving Matt Forte a massive raise for his running and receiving skills, then what about throwing his coaching chops into the equation?

Forte turned a first-quarter screen pass into a 56-yard touchdown to trigger the Bears' 30-12 season-opening win over Atlanta at Soldier Field on Sunday.

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While that play made all the highlight reels, Forte might have done his finest work before the snap.

Allow fullback Tyler Clutts, who joined the Bears on Wednesday, to explain.

"The (play) call came out real fast," Clutts said. "We were short on time. And I just looked at (Forte) with a blank stare and he goes, 'All right, go here, here, here and here,' and it ended up working out."

Forte lined up behind Jay Cutler on the pass with Clutts offset to the right. Though Clutts got turned around while trying to get downfield, he threw two blocks at the point of attack to help Forte squeeze downfield.

Once Forte was in the clear, he shrugged off linebacker Sean Weatherspoon's attempt to shove him out of bounds at the 35-yard line and breezed in for the score.

Once Forte reached the end zone, he raised his arms above his head to flex his biceps -- and hundreds of Bears fans flexed their fingers on Twitter and typed in hashtags such as #paytheman and #PayForte.

"If the Bears don't see my value," Forte said, "hopefully some other team will."

If the Bears didn't see Forte's value in Sunday's win, then they're not going to do so.

He led the Bears in catches (5) and receiving yardage (90). After a sluggish start in the running game -- he had 3 carries for no yards in the first quarter -- Forte finished with 16 carries for a team-high 68 yards.

"His ability in this offense is endless," said quarterback Jay Cutler. "He's such a smart player and he's so versatile. This offense really can't run without him back there.

"The way he's able to take screens and get into the passing game and still run between the tackles, he's a threat all over the field and there aren't many running backs who can do what he does."

And if Cutler's opinion doesn't carry enough weight with the Bears brass, then Forte can pull out the heavy artillery and use Clutts' endorsement.

"He's so smart," Clutts said. "He knows the game so well and knows the offense so well. It's like having a coach on the field. And on top of that is his ability.

"As complicated as this offense is, having a coach standing right behind you (is great). Any time there's any questions, he's there and it's just a comfort level to have a guy like that behind me.

"Every time, he asks, 'You good? You good? You good?' And hopefully I get to a point where I earn his confidence and he doesn't have to tell me (where to go)."

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