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Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Forte praised by Sean Payton, poised for big game


Chicago Bears star RB Matt Forte is poised for another big fantasy day today against the New Orleans Saints, and he could even approach the 6.8 yards per carry he put up last week on the rival Detroit Lions. Forte is one of the best all-around backs in the NFL, and he has been on an absolute tear this season with an average of 120 yards from scrimmage per game (80 on the ground, 40 through the air). He has turned 69 carries into 320 yards, 23 receptions into 160 yards, and Forte also has three touchdown runs to his credit.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton certainly knows that his team will have to quiet down Matt Forte, who had 95 rushing yards on just 14 carries with a touchdown last week (he also caught five passes). Payton knows that Forte isn’t just a dynamic back; he’s a back who can do everything well.

“He has good balance, good vision. He’s a versatile player in that he does a lot of things very well, catches the ball well, good protector when they’re throwing it. He’s smart so he’s not a one dimensional player. He’s a 3D player. He can block, run and catch. He’s been very productive for them in, I don’t want to say (a) short period of time but right from the start when he arrived. It’s something that you can see on film. He does a lot of things extremely well.”

There aren’t many backs in this league who are excellent rushers, receivers, and blockers, and it is even more rare to find a back who can do all of that stuff and be as durable as Forte is. Ahmad Bradshaw is one of those, as Payton said, “3D” backs, but he is an injury waiting to happen. Contrast that to Forte, who has missed just five games in his five-year-and-some-change career.

Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called Matt Forte “really a class act” later on in the press conference, and the Saints know that they have to tighten up on run defense. As of right now, the Saints are allowing the most yards per carry in the league with 5.5 yards per pop.

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Tags: Chicago Bears Matt Forte New Orleans Saints Rob Ryan Sean Payton