Rookie running back David Montgomery took the handoff on the Bears’ first offensive play of the second half against the Saints. Rather than run between the left guard and tackle, though, he bounced the ball outside. By the time he got to the numbers, he’d fumbled.
“I’m big on [being accountable],” he said Thursday. “I didn’t have the best game. I was trying to do too much and trying to play outside of the offense as opposed to doing what I was coached to do. That was a mistake that I made.”
Montgomery could be forgiven for trying to do too much — the Bears were losing and not running the ball often, or well. His fumble came on the Bears’ sixth run against New Orleans. They’d run the ball once more, finishing with only 17 rushing yards.
“We lost,” Montgomery said. “And if we won, [only having seven rushes] wouldn’t have been a problem. . . . I could care less about the rushing yards or I could care less about running the ball a lot in the game. I just want to do whatever I can for my teammates and the small things and the things where I can pay attention to the details to try to help get a win.”
The Bears’ highest draft pick this year, Montgomery had only two carries for six yards. In the Bears’ loss to the Raiders, he had 11 for only 25.
Coach Matt Nagy said he didn’t need to talk to Montgomery about the fumble.
“He’s extremely passionate about how he plays, and obviously he didn’t get enough opportunities last week,” Nagy said. “And so, when you get limited opportunities and then you throw a fumble in there, it’s hard. But he’ll be harder on himself than anybody. And that’s why I don’t worry about it. Because I know he cares.”
Nagy said this week that he’d be an idiot not to know he needs to run more.
“We’re going to call the plays that we think are best for those situations, and sometimes it might be more run than pass, and sometimes it might be more pass than run,” offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said. “In offensive history, you’re always accused at some point of being too much this and too much that. Where you want to be is in the middle of those things.”
The Bears are not. They know it must change.
“The easiest thing in the world is to sit here and say what can’t happen or didn’t happen or, ‘Hey, look, that guy screwed it up,’ ” Helfrich said. “What’s next? How can we fix this?
“I know David felt horrible for turning the ball over, and there were a couple of other guys at the point of attack there that could have finished their guys and gotten rid of them. Those guys felt bad, and that’s good.
“But now what? What’s next? And guys have responded to date. They’ve responded well to a lack of productivity.”
NOTE: Special-teamer Sherrick McManis, who remains in the concussion protocol, again was the only player on the Bears’ injury report.