David Montgomery gives Vikings’ defense fits
The second-year back continued to spearhead the Bears’ offensive resurgence, rushing for a career-high 146 yards on a career-high 32 carries and scoring two TDs in the Bears’ 33-27 victory.
Running back David Montgomery as a perfect fit for coach Matt Nagy’s offense looked like just another miscalculation symptomatic of a wayward offense that had sent the Bears’ season drifting into oblivion.
Not anymore. With a revamped offensive line and a retooled offensive scheme, Montgomery suddenly has become the productive, efficient running back the Bears envisioned when they traded up to select him in the third round of the 2019 draft.
For the fourth consecutive game, the Bears’ offensive resurgence with Mitch Trubisky at quarterback was spearheaded by Montgomery, who rushed for a career-high 146 yards on a career-high 32 carries and scored two touchdowns in a 33-27 victory Sunday against the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
‘‘He runs with such great passion and will when he has the ball in his hands,’’ Trubisky said. ‘‘He and I both know it all starts up front with this offensive line. The way they’re playing together, coming off the line and creating those seams for him . . . you get David in the open field, he’s a special back. He runs harder than anyone I’ve seen in person.’’
Montgomery has been a tone-setter since returning from a concussion that forced him to miss the previous game against the Vikings, a 19-13 loss in which the Bears rushed for 41 yards on 17 carries.
Against the Packers, he gained 57 yards on his first carry. Against the Texans, he ran 80 yards for a touchdown on his first carry. This time, he gained 19 yards on his second carry on the Bears’ second possession to spark a five-play, 58-yard touchdown drive that gave them a 7-0 lead.
‘‘Yeah, it sucked [to miss the first game against the Vikings],’’ Montgomery said. ‘‘I wanted to be sure and give [my teammates] everything I have because I felt like I left them short by missing a game. Just needed to show those guys I love them [and] they get everything out of me.’’
But Montgomery and the offensive line added a new element to this one, wearing down the Vikings’ defense with one run after another. It was never more evident than on back-to-back runs after the Vikings had cut the Bears’ lead to 20-17 in the third quarter.
After an 11-yard gain through a big hole created by guards Cody Whitehair and Alex Bars and center Sam Mustipher to the Vikings’ 14, Montgomery ran through an even bigger hole created by Whitehair, Bars, Mustipher and tackle Germain Ifedi, broke a tackle at the 5 and dragged cornerback Jeff Gladney and safety Harrison Smith into the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Bears a 27-17 lead.
‘‘That run was awesome because he runs so hard,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘He’s really, really hard to bring down with one guy. He runs with extreme passion. The guys love that. We’re feeding off him.’’
Montgomery had four carries of 10 or more yards and 11 of six or more yards. In four games since returning from the concussion, he is averaging 108.5 rushing yards and 6.1 yards per carry, with five touchdowns.
As a team, the Bears rushed for 199 yards on 42 carries. The 199 yards were the most in Nagy’s three seasons. The 42 carries were tied for their most since 2011.
After a six-game stretch with Nick Foles at quarterback in which the Bears rushed for 61.3 yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry, they are averaging 157.5 yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry with Trubisky and the rebuilt offensive line.
‘‘Just one word, really: It’s trust,’’ Montgomery said. ‘‘Me trusting in them. Them trusting in me. And the guys around us . . . trusting each other from the first snap to the last.’’