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Bears RB David Montgomery set the tone with ugly, angry runs

Playing in snow that left most of the Seahawks’ home city paralyzed, the Bears running back decided that it would be easier to go through opponents than around them.

Chicago Bears v Seattle Seahawks
David Montgomery carries the ball against the Seahawks on Sunday.
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Seattle has 35 snowplows. On Sunday, David Montgomery made it 36.

Playing in snow that left most of the Seahawks’ home city paralyzed, the Bears running back decided that it would be easier to go through opponents than around them.

“I think he went out there with a purpose, like he does every single day and every week,” running backs coach Michael Pitre said. “And obviously the weather, I think, forced him to have to make a decision really early that he’s just gonna put his foot in the ground and get some ugly runs — but they were good runs — and force those guys to have to tackle him.”

About six minutes into the game, Montgomery took a handoff left, then cut it back to the right and out toward the numbers. Seahawks cornerback Sidney Jones tried to tackle him, but Montgomery lowered his right shoulder, knocked him to the ground and pushed off with his right arm. For his efforts against Jones, Montgomery was awarded the “Angry Runs” scepter by NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.”

“Sometimes in those kind of conditions, it’s just easier to go straight at them,” offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said Thursday. “And David certainly looked like he had that mindset the way he was playing.”

At the end of his third season, it’s clear that Montgomery is one of the few sure things on the Bears’ offense. Despite missing four games with a knee injury, Montgomery has a chance to reach 1,000 rushing yards for a second straight year. It will take outstanding performances against the Giants and Vikings, though — he’s 287 yards shy.

If the Bears’ offense has an identity, it’s Montgomery when he’s at his toughest and most physical. Whoever coaches the Bears next season needs to build around that, even while developing quarterback Justin Fields.

“I’m like that every week,” Montgomery said Thursday. “Ever since I’ve been in the league, that’s been who I am. That’s just how I run. I run with physicality. You could turn on the film and see that every chance I get, I’m straining just to be the best I can be on every opportunity I get.

“So it wasn’t just a one-week thing. It was just me being me.”

Montgomery had never played in such snowy conditions. He said it was tough to get his footing at first, though conditions improved in the second half. His two catches on the Bears’ last scoring drive were as impressive as any trucking he did earlier in the game. They came on back-to-back plays immediately after wide receiver Darnell Mooney caught a pass and fought for 30 yards with the Bears down seven with 2:45 to play.

With the ball at the Seahawks’ 35, Montgomery caught a swing pass, met his first tackler at the 32 — and dragged him to the 25. On the next play, he caught a checkdown in the middle of the field and plowed forward for 14 yards.

“The biggest thing was to get vertical,” he said. “Don’t be messing around, trying to make people miss. Just go get vertical and take what you can get — and that’s what I did. And it worked out.”

Montgomery finished the game as the Bears’ leading receiver, catching seven passes for 61 yards. His ability to set the tone early — and late — provided the Bears’ offense with a rare bright spot.

“I thought those were huge plays,” Lazor said. “Yeah, he looked like he was all for going straight ahead. And it worked out.”