The Chicago Bears have already lost Jay Cutler for the regular season, and now it looks like Forte could miss some serious time. After his injury, the team immediately ruled him out for the rest of the game, which means there could be serious damage to the knee.
As the Bears are trying to make the playoffs, they couldn't afford serious injuries like this. Unfortunately, Forte's knee could put their season in jeopardy.
As long as he's out, the Bears will need other players to step up.
As the backup to Matt Forte, it is no mystery that Marion Barber will need to play well.
Forte has already accumulated nearly 1,500 all-purpose yards this year. He was arguably the Chicago Bears' most important player, and now he could be missing serious time.
With such an intricate part of the offense gone, someone has to step into that role. Barber has played a big role in an offense before, with the Dallas Cowboys, but this is a different type of big. With Jay Cutler out, the offense was supposed to revolve around the running back.
Barber needs to play well. Obviously, he isn't as talented as Forte. That's fine. As long as he provides a sufficient option at running back, the Bears should be able to get by.
A lot of people were surprised when the Chicago Bears got rid of Greg Olsen.
When you watch Kellen Davis play, however, he can sometimes answer those questions. The monstrous tight end does a great job blocking, and he is a big target in the red zone. As a result, he can make the Bears' red-zone trips fruitful.
Caleb Hanie will need to look to his tight end more often than Jay Cutler ever did. He will be checking down and looking over the middle for the 6' 7" target. Davis will need to get open, and he will need to catch every ball he can.
If Davis is able to provide another weapon on offense, the Bears will be able to spread the ball around a little easier, taking the pressure off everyone.
It seems foolish to put a kicker on a list like this, but Robbie Gould's success could determine how well the Chicago Bears do.
The weather is cold, and the Bears are playing smash-mouth football. As a result, points will come at a premium. When they are anywhere near his range, Gould must put the ball between the uprights.
It is an overlooked part of the game, but kicking can make or break teams, based on field position, morale and, most importantly, points. Sebastian Janikowski practically beat the Bears by himself last week, proving that a kicker can change the dynamics of a Bears game.
As long as Gould remains his reliable self, while hitting the long kicks he might have to start taking, the Bears will be just fine.
As if Caleb Hanie's job wasn't tough enough.
Jay Cutler was playing great football, and Hanie was supposed to keep that going. Obviously, that is asking a little much of the career backup. Still, he had Matt Forte to rely on.
Forte provided Hanie with a fallout plan. Give him 30-35 touches each game, and Hanie wouldn't have to make as many plays. With the running back out, Hanie will need to play well.
Marion Barber can't do what Forte does, which could encourage Mike Martz to throw more often. If he does, Hanie will to need to make the most of it to get the Chicago Bears to the playoffs.
It is no surprise when Devin Hester returns a kick or punt for a touchdown. In fact, the biggest surprise is that the other team kicked to him.
Now, teams have even less reason to kick to Hester. The Bears offense took a major hit, and they will not be able to move the ball as effectively. Accordingly, teams shouldn't have a problem kicking the ball straight out of bounds.
As a result, Hester will have to make serious contributions while he can. On special teams, if he gets the slightest crease, he has to make it a big return. He will only have a few opportunities, but he will need to make the most of every one of them.
Plus, on offense, Hester will need to step up. As a receiver, he leaves much to be desired. However, he has improved, and that will need to show. Running deep, going across the middle and getting yards after catch will all be expected of Hester.
He is the Bears' most lethal weapon. He needs to show it.
Julius Peppers is one of the best athletes in the NFL. He has a great motor, and he can make plays unlike any other person his size.
For the Chicago Bears to make the playoffs, he will need to produce. Getting sacks, tackles for loss and turnovers will facilitate the Bears' quest for the playoffs.
He's a great player. Great players make sure their team stays afloat while battling injuries. The offense may sputter, but the defense needs to play well.
Peppers is a large part of that.
If he can perform at a high level, the defense will shine. Subsequently, the Bears will stand a good chance of making the playoffs.
The Chicago Bears' offense will struggle to score, and the defense will have to pick up that slack.
As a result, Brian Urlacher will need to come up big. The Bears are still hoping to make the playoffs, and it will be because of their defense. With Urlacher leading the charge, they stand a pretty good chance.
A lot of people have questioned Urlacher's effectiveness with his age, but I don't think it has affected him as much as people think. Sure, he won't make as many tackles as he used to make, but he doesn't need to make them.
He is still all over the field, and he is on pace for more than 100 tackles yet again. If Urlacher can keep making those plays, and possibly cause a couple turnovers, the Bears will be in good shape.