The Chicago Bears’ three headed monster: Alshon Jeffrey, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte.
Those three names terrify opposing defenses, and, quite frankly, I get it. In a year in which the Bears have had a change at quarterback again, with a defense that can’t hold a division three running back in check, these three have shined above all others in terms of stats and playmaking ability.
All three players have already eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark; Forte in rushing, and Jeffrey and Marshall in receiving. Let’s put this in perspective: before 2012, when Marshall had his breakout season with the Bears (118 receptions, 1,508 receiving yards), Chicago hadn’t seen a wide receiver go over the 1,000 yard mark since 2001.
The Bears now have three games left in the 2013 season, and two receivers have managed to make it over the 1,000 yard mark. Both Jeffrey and Marshall are on pace for 100 receptions each in 2013. The production from these two has already surpassed anything the Bears have seen at the wide receiver position.
The pair needs just a combined 65 yards to surpass the franchises single season receiving record for a duo, a record they’re on track to obliterate by likely 500 yards or so.
This is Marshall’s seventh-straight 1,000-yard receiving season, which is the most among active NFL players. It’s his second-straight as a member of the Bears, and he is just the fourth player in franchise history with two 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
Alshon Jeffery owns the Chicago Bears’ top two single-game receiving records (245 yards and 218 yards). He is the first player in franchise history with two 200-yard receiving games in his career, and he is one of eight players in NFL history to have two 200-yard receiving games in the same season.
I could go on.
But let’s talk about Matt Forte, who has not only rushed for 1,000 yards but has received for 500. Forte is currently sitting at 65 receptions on the season and is arguably the best, all-purpose running back in the league.
The Bears haven’t had a running back this consistent and productive since Walter Payton, and the stats prove it. Forte now has 16 career games with at least 150 yards from scrimmage, including two this season. On the year, he has 1,591 yards from scrimmage (1,073 rushing, 518 receiving), the third most in the NFL.
Those 1,073 rushing yards on the season, make this his fourth career 1,000-yard rushing year, second most in franchise history to the late, great Walter Payton. Forte averages around 4.6 yards per carry and is continuing to grow behind this new Bears offensive line.
This is truly the most dynamic the Bears’ offense has ever been since the early 60s and 40s. All the Bears needed was a quarterback who could deliver the ball to a group of effective weapons, and the Bears found two in Jay Cutler and Josh McCown.
When and opposing defense lines up against the Bears’ offensive look, they have to account for all three of these guys, and all three have won at one point or another all season long. If the play calling is balanced, like it was against Dallas on Monday night, the Bears can pick and choose the way they want to beat you on offense.
Forte and Marshall on intermediate routes … Forte out of the backfield … Marshall on a slant … Jeffrey on an out-route ... the list goes on and on. And Alshon Jeffrey has become one of the premiere deep ball receivers in the league.
It’s a shame the Bears’ defense has let up in a year like this — in a year where the offense has finally hit its stride and all the pieces are coming together. But the defensive struggles shouldn’t overshadow the fact that these three have been tearing it up every single weekend.
I know for that opposing defensive coordinators are praying the Bears don’t make the playoffs specifically because of these three. In a playoff scenario, you want playmakers on offense, and the Bears have that all over the field.
If the Bears’ defense can stabilize and allow this offense to grow legs like it did last night, this team can be extremely dangerous.
The Bears are fortunate, they are catching Forte and Marshall in their prime, and Jeffrey is quickly ascending as a premier player in this league. I wouldn’t be surprised to see all three guys in Hawaii in January, especially Jeffrey and Forte.
The Bears have a chance to make some noise with this unit on offense, and whether or not the defense decides to show up, these guys will continue to put on a show.
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