After getting easily brushed aside the last three weeks, the Rams run defense will be feeling some heat to up their performance level.
To right the ship this week, the defensive front will be studying tape of Bears rookie RB Matt Forte. The Tulane product has become the Bears main running threat with 205 carries. Forte's one of only 4 running backs in the league with more than 200 carries. The Bears' next leading rusher in terms of carries is Kevin Jones ('memba him?) with 34, so, yeah, plenty of film on Matt Forte. Here are his stats:
|2008 - Matt Forte||10||205||777||77.7||3.8||50||4||43||322||32.2||7.5||19||3|
As you can see, he's also a receiving threat. The Bears must be thinking they have a pretty good matchup against the Rams tackles and smallish linebackers, especially with Chris Draft out at least another week.
The Bears are so dependent on Forte that he accounts for 33.9 percent of their total yardage.
Forte isn't the flashy superstar running back in the Steven Jackson mold. He's much more of a grinder (a guy I'd use as part of a tandem) who needs his o-line to make things work. Looking at the stats from Football Outsiders, you can see that the Bears have one of the league's lower percentages of running plays going for 10+ yards. The Bears run up the middle about half the time, and have had success in getting yardage through that lane.
The Bears' passing game can't be ignored, but it is such that the Rams can use a few more 8 man fronts to limit the damage. Whatever Xs and Os they use, the Rams front seven all need to make a strong case for the sake of their careers.