David Montgomery Up for Award and Winning

Bears running back David Montgomery has been nominated for a weekly NFL rushing award after becoming the first back since December, 2019 to rush for 100 yards against the Rams defense.
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Concern over whether David Montgomery could run against a good defense behind this Bears offensive line vanished immediately in the opener.

They became the first team with a 100-yard rusher against the Los Angeles Rams defense since both Tony Pollard (131 yards) and Ezekiel Elliott did it for Dallas on Dec. 15, 2019.

Now the concern is whether the Bears can duplicate this against Cincinnati in the home opener, and it's a real concern but not because of Montgomery.

Montgomery's 108-yard game on 16 carries with a touchdown against the Rams could mean an award for FedEd Ground NFL Player of the Week, if enough fans go to a site to vote for him.

The Bears had experienced a running game surge late last year but it came against weaker defenses. So doing it against a team third in the league stopping the run last year was a feather in the offense's cap. However, the running game could have trouble repeating this success Sunday because of the line's health. 

Coach Matt Nagy offered no injury updates on Monday for starting left tackle Jason Peters (quad) and backup left tackle Larry Borom (ankle), but both left the 34-14 loss without returning. Continued Montgomery success could hinge on whether Elijah Wilkinson can flip from right tackle to left tackle.

At least on Montgomery's end, the effort failed to surprise coach Matt Nagy.

"He came out and he's had a great training camp," Nagy said. "I thought this past week he looked really fast in practice. he looked, sharp, he looked quick and it didn't surprise me at all on that 41-yard run to start the game. That was strong run."

Montgomery's 3-yard TD run in the second quarter was shorter but maybe as strong.


"That touchdown run that he had, I mean, was special now," Nagy said. "I mean to have to break a tackle from Aaron Donald and another D-tackle, and be able to you know get in there and fight for that extra yard, that shows who he is so I'm proud of him for that."

Montgomery went over 100 yards for the sixth time and it was his fifth-highest yardage total, but came only on 16 carries and as a result Nagy faced some questioning Monday about whether the Bears again abandoned the run. 

During the offseason he had said he thought Montgomery could average 20 carries a game.

"I don't think we abandoned the run game at all with him (Sunday)," Nagy said. "I thought we did a good job of giving him opportunities. He ran hard. There were some hard runs in there.

"So for us, it actually kind of goes back to that number we talked about. When you're winning, you get into that fourth quarter you get those extra four or five carries. When you're losing, you're in two-minute, you lose those carries. So he was at, what, 16 carries? So we were behind in the fourth and we turned into more of a two-minute team than a four-minute team so that's probably where some of those carries were lost."

Of course, starting off the game last week with a 41-yard burst to help the Bears eventually get within 3 yards of a touchdown on the drive helped.

"It was OK," Montgomery said. "I mean we wasn't able to convert off of it and score which is unfortunate but those are the kind of starts like you want to start off in a game. But it's really about capitalizing on those opportunities and being able to put some points on the board."

Andy Dalton threw an interception in the end zone on a tipped pass to kill the drive.

Montgomery didn't feel he necessarily should have had more carries. Then again, he didn't say it was a bad idea, either.

"Like I always say, I just want to be available for my teammates and however we need to get a win or win in general I'm down to do," Montgomery said. "Like I always say, if it's me not getting the ball and just blocking the whole game and we win it, let's do it. And if it's the other way around let's do it as well. Whatever it takes to win I'm willing to do.

"I'm not necessarily saying it needs to be in my hands but I think we just need to just continue to grow together as an offense because we can be really good."

Those hands of Montgomery will be a concern this week, as well, especially one finger. He left the game and went to the locker room to have a finger wrapped up, then returned to finish the game.

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