ARLINGTON, Texas – Bears running back Matt Forte took the handoff, hopped to his right and ran through the hole in the middle for a gain of 8 yards.
Questionable coming into the game after missing last week’s matchup with St. Louis, Forte’s first carry on the Bears’ first offensive play of their 34-18 win over Dallas on Monday seemed to provide an answer about whether his ankle was healthy. As he came to the sideline, though, it only opened more questions.
Trainers took his helmet away. Forte took a seat on the training table. Trainers re-taped Forte’s ankle and the running back spent a handful of plays on the sideline, testing the ankle by cutting and juking around team personnel.
On the field, backup Michael Bush rushed three times for 11 yards.
Near the end of the quarter, Forte was given his helmet back. His second carry came with 1:10 remaining in the first, a gain of 1 yard. After another 1-yard gain, Forte went around the right end for nine, then behind the right tackle for 14.
He finished the night with 13 carries rushes for 52 yards, averaging 4 yards per carry. Most of his damage came in the first half, where he rushed seven times for 42 yards as the Bears headed into the locker room up 10-7.
As the Bears did most of their damage through the air – Jay Cutler threw 24 times, completing 18 of them for 275 yards and Chicago’s two offensive touchdowns – and scored two defensive touchdowns, Forte didn’t need to have much of an effect on the game, providing just enough of a threat for Cutler to move the passing attack.
Forte sat for much of the fourth quarter after the Bears took a 17-point lead. Bush rushed eight times after Forte returned to the game, finishing with 10 rushes for 29 yards. Four of those carries came with Chicago holding a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. Bush had five carries for just 13 yards at halftime.
Forte’s longest run of the night, a 14-yard gain, came in the second quarter. The Bears offensive line opened up a huge hole next to the right tackle that allowed Forte to get into the secondary and cut back across the field.
Despite the relatively quiet second half, the questions about Forte’s ankle, at least for one night, seem to be answered.