Oakland Raiders: Keys to Victory over the Chicago Bears
By Austin Gayle
Sep 27, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) is tackled by the Seattle Seahawks during the third quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Contain Running Back Matt Forte
Given the injuries to both Cutler and Jeffery, Bears running back Matt Forte will continue to be relied on in nearly every phase of Chicago’s offense.
Despite being down for most of the game against Seattle, Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase still forced the ball into Forte’s hands on the ground, as he carried the ball 20 times for just 74 yards. Forte is currently the second-leading rusher in the NFL with 276 yards, while he also is averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
In order for Oakland to completely contain Forte their defense must do more than just limit him in the run game, as Forte has proven in the past that he can also be a lethal weapon coming out of the backfield as a receiver. In 2014 Forte earned 808 receiving yards on a team-high 108 receptions.
The return of Raiders defensive tackle Justin Ellis should have a positive effect on Oakland’s ability to stop the run, as the 6’2″, 335 pound run-stuffer is more than capable of taking on double-teams and penetrating in the trenches, but the Raiders’ linebacking corps will have to take a majority of the responsibility in hindering Forte’s impact as a receiver.
Free agent additions Malcolm Smith and Curtis Lofton have both played well early on, as the two have combined for 49 tackles on the season. Expect Norton Jr. to have his linebackers place an emphasis on mirroring Forte all throughout the game.
If Oakland can successfully keep Forte from making plays in either the run or the pass game, Gase will have no choice but to put the ball in Clausen’s hands, which we all know shouldn’t turn out pretty for that Chicago offense.
Next: Keys to the Game: End the Tight End Woes