Bears running back David Montgomery had one carry in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints. On the Bears’ first offensive play of the second half, Montgomery fumbled away his second – and final – carry of the game.The 22-year-old rookie took full responsibility for the mistake Thursday at Halas Hall.
“I took myself out of character,” Montgomery said. “I wasn’t paying attention to the details. I rarely fumble, but in that situation I was going outside when the play wasn’t designed to go outside and I fumbled it. That was a big mistake that I made.”
The loss dropped the Bears to 3-3, and the final rushing stat line wasn’t pretty for the team: seven carries for 17 yards. Montgomery rushed for six yards on two carries, with the fumble. Tarik Cohen led the Bears with 10 yards on three carries.
It marked the third game this season where the Bears failed to run the ball 20 times. It was the second time (including the Week 1 loss to the Packers) where the Bears ran it 15 or fewer times.
Score certainly dictates some of the play calling in the second half. When the rushing attack fumbles twice on seven carries, as it did Sunday, it doesn’t exactly instill confidence.
Head coach Matt Nagy reiterated Thursday that he has “all the confidence in the world in David Montgomery and in all of our backs.”
The Bears spent a third-round draft pick on Montgomery, so clearly they saw things they liked. It’s been a slow start to his NFL career, though.
Nagy didn’t feel the need to talk to Montgomery following the fumble.
“He’s extremely passionate about how he plays,” Nagy said. “Obviously, he didn’t get enough opportunities last week. When you get limited opportunities and you throw a fumble in there, it’s hard. But he’ll be harder on himself than anybody. That’s why I don’t worry about him, because I know he cares.”
Nagy said Thursday that he believes Montgomery can pick up two or three yards when the Bears need it. Calling his number only twice is a strange way of showing it.
Montgomery said his volume of carries doesn’t matter. Still, this is a running back who carried the ball 21.4 times per game last year at Iowa State. Every skill-position player wants the ball in his hands as many times as possible — it’s the nature of the job.
Offensive lineman Bobby Massie downplayed the run-pass disparity as well, saying the line doesn’t need to get in a rhythm in order to run block.
“I run what plays are called,” Massie said. “If it’s 70 passes a game, I’ll pass block 70 plays a game. If it’s 70 run blocks a game, I’ll run block 70 times.”
When discussing Montgomery’s fumble, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich hinted at some blocks up front that weren’t made.
“David, I know felt horribly for turning the ball over, and there were a couple other guys at the point of attack that could have finished their guys,” Helfrich said.
Montgomery reacted by placing the blame on himself, saying “I’m big on taking accountability on myself.”
“It’s just getting back to the drawing board and figuring out how we can get to a win,” Montgomery said. “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.”