How the Bears Run Game Has Become Elite

Over the past few seasons, the Bears have had one of the worst offenses in the NFL. The same was expected for this year as coming into the season the Chicago Bears were expected to have a bottom three offense in the NFL. This assumption has quickly been put to rest as the Bears rushing attack has been at the top of the NFL to start the season. The Bears only trail the Browns as the NFL’s top rushing offense, producing 186.7 yards per game on the ground. Since 2019, the highest the Bears rushing offense has been is 14th, making the surge seem to come out of nowhere. Every major contributor to the running game has cohesively come together to make this breakout possible and every facet of the offense deserves credit.

Premier Backs
Perhaps the biggest reason for this breakout comes from the runningbacks. Though the run game starts with the offensive line creating a whole, David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert have been elite after the first hit and once they hit the hole. In 2020 and 2021, Montgomery was top ten in both yards after contact and broken tackles. This year, he is 10th in yards after contact and tied for first in broken tackles despite getting injured early this week vs the Texans. What is more impressive, is that his fellow running back Khalil Herbert is 8th in broken tackles and 10th in yards after contact despite only having 33 attempts through three games. Herbert is 3rd in yards after contact per attempt and is averaging 7.3 yards per carry which is 2nd in the NFL. These two ball carriers have been seemingly unstoppable as they have carried the Bears’ offense in weeks two and three.

Justin Fields
Though Justin Fields has been shaky throwing the ball this year, it’s impossible to deny the impact he’s had when running the ball. Fields has run for seven first downs this season and 95 yards. Fields has rushed for a couple of electrifying 20+ yard runs to get the running backs going. This has led to being able to keep defenders on their toes while watching Fields hand the ball off, making Monty’s and Herbert’s jobs easier by taking a defender’s eyes off of them.

The Offensive Line
This year, the offensive line has opened up holes that Bears running backs haven’t seen since Jordan Howard’s elite running days. The line received a lot of criticism over the offseason and so far, they’ve exceeded their low expectations tremendously. They still get beat up a bit when trying to protect Fields but they have done more than enough when it comes to making Montgomery’s and Herbert’s jobs a lot easier. The offensive line coaches Chris Morgan and Austin King deserve a good amount of credit as well for getting the offensive line going and setting them up for run-blocking success.

Looking Foward
The Bears’ rushing attack has been extremely fun to watch this season but it has only been three weeks. If the Bears can continue to produce on the ground as they have been, the defense will be forced to respect the run game more which will open up the passing game. Once this happens, some pressure can be lifted off the run but no one should be expecting any kind of let-up from the backs, line, or anyone else involved in the rushing attack.
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