Big season, but Forte wanted much more

This season was the most productive of Matt Forte’s six-year career.

He was voted to his second Pro Bowl. He established personal bests with 1,339 rushing yards, 74 receptions, 594 receiving yards and 1,933 yards from scrimmage. In franchise history, only Walter Payton ever had more yards from scrimmage in a season.

But after the Bears’ 33-28 loss Sunday to the Packers left them on the outside looking in at the postseason, Forte was having regrets.

“I wish we would have kept the ball longer,” Forte said of the Bears’ penultimate possession that began at their own 26-yard line with a 28-27 lead that consumed five minutes and 14 seconds. It reached the Packers’ 45-yard line but ended with a punt that pinned the Packers at their 13-yard line with 6:24 remaining. As it turned out, that was too much time, as Aaron Rodgers drove Green Bay to a 33-28 victory.

“We weren’t able to make that one first down when we were driving a bit,” Forte said. “If we could have done that, we maybe could have gotten a field goal.”

But it’s hard to blame Forte for the defeat after he ran for 110 yards on 22 carries (5.0-yard average) and caught 4 passes for 47 yards.

“He’s underrated, I think, in the public’s eye,” Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said of his multi-talented runner. “I think he’s the best all-around back in the NFL. You leave him in there on third downs and he pass protects. We throw him the ball on check downs. He ran the heck out of the ball — up the middle and on the edge.

“I’m glad he’s on our team. Each week, it’s, ‘How can we get Matt the ball?’ We have to get him more touches.”

In addition to the 157 yards from scrimmage, Forte scored 3 touchdowns for the second time this season. His 9 rushing touchdowns are another personal best.

Forte got the scoring started on a 4-yard TD grab underneath coverage and added 5- and 1-yard TD runs in the third quarter. But the personal accomplishments didn’t do much to assuage Forte’s disappointment at missing out on the playoffs.

“We were in the position we needed to be in,” he said. “We could have locked it up last week (a 54-11 loss to the Eagles), and we couldn’t do that. We had everything lined up, and we couldn’t come through.

“We have nobody to blame but ourselves.”

  Matt Forte escapes from Packers safety Sean Richardson on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. George LeClaire/
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