Bears look to get run game going against Seahawks

  • Chicago Bears Matt Forte runs the ball in 17-14 win against Pittsburg Steelers at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday Septmeber 20th.

      Chicago Bears Matt Forte runs the ball in 17-14 win against Pittsburg Steelers at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday Septmeber 20th. GEORGE LECLAIRE | Staff Photographer

Published9/24/2009 12:02 AM

For a Bears offense eager to get the running game going, the Seattle Seahawks' defense could be its treadmill Sunday in Seattle.

The Seahawks' defense has allowed 333 rushing yards and a whopping, worst-in-the-league 7.1 yards per rush. Last week San Francisco's Frank Gore picked up 207 yards on 16 carries, including runs of 80 and 79 yards, as the Seahawks were gouged for 256 yards on the ground.


After two weeks, the Bears' run game is No. 31 in yards (129) and average gain per play (2.6 yards). Matt Forte, the focal point of the ground attack, has just 84 yards on 38 carries, an average of 2.2 yards per try, with a long run of 10 yards.

Forte rarely experienced such a lack of production last season as a rookie, when he rushed for 1,238 yards and accounted for an NFL-best 35 percent of his team's yards from scrimmage.

He has no doubts he can be just as productive this season.

"Why would I doubt myself?" Forte said. "I would never doubt myself in anything that I do because if you believe in yourself that's part of being able to do it.

"It's somewhat frustrating, but you can't (let yourself) get frustrated. Then you start looking for holes to run through and you miss a cut and then you miss out on some yards. We knew going into the (Pittsburgh) game it was going to be like that."

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The Bears weren't able to establish the run game Sunday (43 yards on 18 carries, 2.4-yard average), but that's to be expected against a Steelers defense that was the NFL's best last season.

"They're going to be tough against the run," quarterback Jay Cutler said. "It's going to be hard to go into a game against them and say your running game is going to win the ballgame for you because they're going to stop the run.

"(We're) not going to really put a lot of stock in that. We won the ballgame."

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner is confident that when the Bears have an opportunity to run, they'll be able to take advantage of it.

"We're going to be fine," Turner said. "Last game we didn't really give it a chance, going against the best team against the run in the past several years.


"We've got a good offensive line and good running backs. We'll be able to run the ball. We know it's something we've got to have, that we want to have, and we're going to have balance.

"Some games you're going to have to throw a little bit more to win, some games you're going to have to run a little bit more to win. Last game we threw it a little bit more."

No one in the Bears' locker room is stressed out over the fitful pace of the ground game, but it is an area in need of improvement.

"You always want to get the running game going," center Olin Kreutz said. "It's a work in progress, so we're working on it."

After being embarrassed by the 49ers last week in a 23-10 loss, the Seahawks undoubtedly are working overtime to plug the holes in their run defense.

"Anytime you give up 200 yards worth of rushing," Forte said, "they're going to be working to stop that."

But it remains to be seen how much the Seahawks' run defense can improve in one week with outside linebacker Leroy Hill out for another month with a groin injury.

Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (hamstring) and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (calf) did not practice Wednesday and probably will be questionable for Sunday.


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