Montgomery has sparked conversation recently, after being named PFF’s 21st ranked running back and claiming to be ranked 25th per CBS’s running back rankings.
Outside of that, Montgomery is motivated for this upcoming season and accordingly “disappointed” with how he performed last season for the Bears.
We’re here to say that Montgomery may have been the reason for the Bears’ second playoff stint in the last three seasons.
Last season, Montgomery was the turning point in the regular season for the Bears playoff hopes. He put on a spectacle in the last six weeks of the season, scoring a touchdown in each of the Bears’ last five games and averaging just under 100 rushing yards per game in that span too.
He helped the team record three wins in their last four games to push them into the final NFC wild-card position, even while the offense struggled.
What sparked change in the Chicago Bears’ rushing offense?
The lightened schedule could have been a factor, like playing the Vikings, Jaguars, and Texans. But Bill Lazor could also be accredited with the use of Montgomery in the backfield.
In the week before Lazor took over the play-calling, the Bears recorded 88.4 rushing yards per game (32nd), rushed the ball on 34.89 percent of plays (31st), and scored 0.3 rushing touchdowns per game (32nd).
After Lazor took over playcalling on Nov. 13, the Bears moved their totals up to 99.7 rushing yards per game (27th), 37.33 percent rushing play calls (27th), and 0.7 rushing touchdowns per game (29th).
Clearly, Lazor’s use of Montgomery paid off for the Bears’ offense.
The work Ryan Pace has done this offseason certainly points to the direction of running the ball more often too.
The Bears’ offensive line has certainly been a sight for sore eyes. The Bears ranked 25th in power rank and adjusted line yards, 29th in the stuffed ranking, and 20th in open-level yards.
However, the Bears drafted highly touted rookies Tevon Jenkins and Larry Borom to clean up the line this offseason.
To open up the run game, Pace introduced a deeper-rooted passing game with elite members, such as Justin Fields, Damiere Byrd, Marquise Goodwin, and Dazz Newsome.
Last but not least, instead of trying to convince themselves that Cordarrelle Patterson could run the ball in the backfield, Pace went out and signed running backs Damien Williams and newly drafted Khalil Herbert to run alongside Montgomery and the returning Tarik Cohen.
The cards are starting to stack up well for the Bears’ on the offensive side of the ball. On paper, this offense is more appealing to the eye of fans than last season’s.
Montgomery is going into his third season in the NFL after completing his first 1,000-yard season and adding 500+ passing yards to give himself 1,500 yards from scrimmage last season.
Not only is Montgomery an asset to the team, but he’s also one of the Bears’ most important pieces for next season if they want to improve their offense, which ranked 22nd in points per game and 18th in the time of possession last season.