Since David Montgomery missed the Week 10 matchup against the Vikings with a concussion, he has been a productive player for the Bears offense.
In the two losses to the Packers and Lions, the second-year running back has accounted for 37 touches, 254 total yards and three touchdowns.
With only four weeks remaining in the 2020 regular season and the Bears at 5-7 and currently on a six-game losing skid, it’s becoming more likely that Chicago will miss the playoffs for the second straight year.
To get the most out of another disappointing season, the Bears must make Montgomery the focal point of the offense to assess, for this coaching staff or the next one, how he can best be utilized to reach his max potential.
There will be plenty of changes at the end of the year, but Montgomery — a third-round pick who the Bears moved up to draft in 2019 — will be the feature back of the offense moving forward.
Against the Packers on “Sunday Night Football,” Montgomery put the Bears in position to score their first touchdown in that 41-25 blowout loss.
With 43 seconds remaining in the first half, quarterback Mitch Trubisky threw a check-down pass to Montgomery in the flat and he made the first man miss and gained 13 yards on the reception. Montgomery’s play put Chicago’s offense at Green Bay’s 3-yard line, and wide receiver Allen Robinson finished the drive with a touchdown reception.
David Montgomery's impact as a receiver is seriously underrated — his ability to make ~135% cuts is nothing short of deadly in the open field.
It's tougher for these cuts to impact the running game due to rallying tacklers, but in open space they create yardage well. pic.twitter.com/cVzYoSTYzb
— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) December 3, 2020
And in the first half against the Lions at Soldier Field, Montgomery displayed great vision, instincts and grit as he ran for 62 yards and two touchdowns. All those qualities were on display for his 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
After seeing the lane through the B-gap, he made a nice cut to get to the outside and finished the run by stiff-arming the defender and reaching the ball across the end zone.
David Montgomery gets the touchdown for the Bears. Bad angles and missed tackles by the Lions defense. pic.twitter.com/K11gIPWzx7
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) December 6, 2020
Montgomery possesses the potential to produce like he has the past two weeks on a more consistent basis, but coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor need to continue providing him with opportunities.
Nagy and Lazor did the opposite in the second half against Detroit — giving Montgomery just six rushing attempts, despite having a 23-13 lead at halftime and a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
On Sunday, the Bears will face a Houston Texans team that is currently allowing 150.9 yards per game rushing, which is ranked 31st in the league. In the last five games, the Texans have given up over 100 yards rushing four times, including 231 yards to the Cleveland Browns in Week 10.
Let’s see if the offensive coaching staff can correct their mistakes and put Montgomery in a position to have his third-straight productive game. If Nagy and Lazor fail to do that, there will most likely be people next season who will get their chance to get the most out of Montgomery.