Forte focused on beating Steelers

Bears running back isn't intimidated going up against franchise with rich history

Matt Forte isn't intimidated with the prospect of facing the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Sunday night for the first time in his career.

"I play for the best city, so I am not worried about them," Forte said. "I am going there to win a football game. That's what the mindset is. We're going in to win a football game, no matter where it is."

Forte was not dissing the Steelers or the city of Pittsburgh; he simply was accentuating the Bears' intense focus to remain unbeaten this weekend, regardless of the opponent.

The last time the Bears played the Steelers in Pittsburgh was 2005 — a 21-9 Steelers victory. The Bears will need every bit of Forte's versatility as a runner, blocker and pass-catcher against the desperate 0-2 Steelers.

"Coach (Marc) Trestman just continues to put us in position (in practice) where situations come up in the game and we are not surprised by them," Forte said. "So when we do two-minute (drills) and hurry-up plays … when it comes to game time, everyone is focused and calm."

Forte entered the NFL in 2008 and ranks third among running backs with 282 catches and 2,437 receiving yards since. He is third in those categories on the Bears' all-time list among running backs behind Walter Payton and Neal Anderson.

"It's an honor to play for an organization that has such great alumni like that, especially in my position," Forte said. "That gives you more motivation to go out there and do them justice by playing well."

Forte's appreciation for the history of the Bears and Steelers is refreshing. The storied family ownership legacies of these franchises dates to 1934, when they first competed against each other.

The Bears own a 20-7-1 advantage all time over the Steelers, but the emotions remain between the McCaskey and Rooney families, who respect each other while remaining competitive.

Virginia McCaskey, daughter of NFL founder and Hall of Fame Bears coach George Halas, carries on her late father's winning spirit.

"One thing I haven't learned to live with — after all of these years — is just losing games," she said in a recent interview on the Bears website. "I know it has to happen sometimes. But it's never easy or acceptable."

Trestman also knows the rich history of the Bears and Steelers. Another game decided late in the fourth quarter could be forthcoming.

"Our guys are giving themselves a chance to win games in the fourth quarter," Trestman said. "That's all you really want to do. You're seldom going to blow anybody out … and every minute counts."

In Sunday's 31-30 victory against the Vikings, Forte established a career high with 11 receptions for 71 yards.

"Matt was in position as a secondary receiver most of the time and Jay (Cutler) did a good job of getting through his progressions and getting the ball to him," Trestman said.

Turnovers in the first two games, including Forte's fourth-quarter fumble against the Vikings, forced the Bears to stage late comebacks.

"It just shows the resiliency and the character in our locker room right," Forte said. "Although we have a new coaching staff, we have a strong core football team of veterans," Forte said.

fmitchell@tribune.com

twitter @kicker34

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