TAMPA, Fla. – There were few bright spots for the Bears in Sunday’s 38-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If there was a silver lining, it was the run game. The Bears ran for 143 yards against a team that was allowing fewer than 60 rushing yards per game.
Rookie running back Khalil Herbert had another nice game, totaling exactly 100 yards on 18 carries. It was the first 100-yard rushing game of his career. The sixth-round draft pick is averaging 90.7 rushing yards per game over the past three games since starter David Montgomery went down with a knee injury.
“It’s tough,” Herbert said. “We want to go out there and get the win. I try to help out any way I can. It’s tough. We have to get on the film, watch and correct, and figure out what we have to do to correct and fix it.”
With veteran running back Damien Williams activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list prior to the game, it would’ve made sense for the Bears to give Williams and Herbert an even share of the carries. That’s what they did a couple weeks ago in a win over the Las Vegas Raiders, the last time both running backs were available.
Instead, Herbert saw the vast majority of the touches Sunday. Williams handled only three carries and caught one pass.
The Bears clearly like what they’ve found in Herbert. He has established himself as the go-to back as long as Montgomery remains out.
Herbert is slippery, can find holes when it sometimes looks like there isn’t one, has a nice burst of speed and – maybe most importantly – hasn’t coughed up the ball. The highlight Sunday was a 29-yard run in the first half, the longest of his career.
“[It’s] just the O-line, doing their thing,” Herbert said. “They do a great job up front making it easy for me. Just those guys going out there and pounding.”
The offensive line was in flux after right tackle Elijah Wilkinson went on the reserve/COVID-19 list hours before the game Sunday. The Bears tried to play Lachavious Simmons at right tackle, but head coach Matt Nagy pulled him before halftime in favor of Alex Bars.
It’s no surprise, then, that Herbert found a lot of success running to the left behind left tackle Jason Peters. Herbert ran for 79 of his 100 yards when he ran to the left of the left tackle, per NFL Next Gen Stats.