Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert impressed the coaching staff the moment he stepped foot in training camp. Now he’s becoming a main part of the offense and a bright star on an otherwise dismal offense.
The Chicago Bears and their fans are licking their wounds after another embarrassing showing. They lost big to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-3 in a game that wasn’t even that close. The offense again struggled to move the ball and score points. In addition, they gave the ball away five times.
There was one bright spot in that game, however. Rookie running back Khalil Herbert shined in his second career start. Many thought it would be a tough day for Herbert and the Bears’ rushing attack. Herbert thrived on attacking the NFL’s top-ranked rushing defense. He gained 91 yards in the first half on his way to 100 yards rushing for the game (the Bears had to go away a bit from the running game because of the huge deficit).
Herbert had a total of 133 all-purpose yards for the game. There was a lot of blame to go around for the Bears’ embarrassment but Herbert’s performance wasn’t part of it.
Herbert’s performance came a week after his first career start, against the Green Bay Packers. He gained 97 yards in that game, also a loss. The Bears thrust him into the starting job after David Montgomery sprained his knee and Damien Williams went on the COVID list.
From the moment Herbert set foot in training camp, he showed that he wasn’t any normal sixth-round pick. He looked confident and sure of what he needed to do. He made the team as a returner. It wasn’t until late in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions, after Montgomery and Williams both went down, that he got a chance to play in the offense.
Herbert became the Bears’ main backup in Week 5 against the Las Vegas Raiders. He outran Williams, who started the game by running for 75 yards. Then he became the starter and he really blossomed.
In the two games he started he has 197 rushing yards and a touchdown. He averaged 5.3 yards per rush. He is a big reason the Bears rank sixth in the league in rushing with 917 yards. To show how much improved the running game is, last season the Bears didn’t reach 900 yards until Week 12.
Despite the two straight losses, Herbert’s performance is a positive sign. With how well he’s running, he earned himself a big part of the offense. Even with Montgomery’s return, Herbert should see quite a few snaps. That only makes the Bears’ rushing attack even stronger.
Herbert shows good explosiveness and vision for a rookie. Also, he does a good job of changing direction and beating the defense.
With Montgomery and Herbert, the Bears should have a tough and young two-headed monster running the ball. He runs hard and explodes through the hole. This complements Montgomery, who does a great job of breaking tackles and getting away (he ranks 17th in broken tackles with 7 despite only playing four games).
While things are bad at the moment, the running game seems to be in good shape. This gives the offense some hope for the future.