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Steelers-Bears play to watch: Trips right shotgun inside counter

| Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 10:42 p.m.
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Bears quarterback Jay Cutler hands off to Matt Forte against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013.
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LaMarr Woodley awaits the snap against the Jets on Sept. 16, 2012.

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau called Chicago's Matt Forte one of the most underrated running backs in the league.

Bears coach Marc Trestman appears to be in the process of changing that perception.

The Bears have featured Forte various ways through the first two games, but none more than in the shotgun formation.

Of Forte's 39 rushes, 11 have come out of the shotgun. And with Jay Cutler taking most of his snaps out of that formation, it is difficult for defenses to play their base defense.

The Bears can run and pass out of the shotgun, and when they run, they love to call trips right shotgun inside counter.

It's a play with which the Bears had success against the Bengals and Vikings — mostly because of Forte.

“We like Matt against really anybody inside,” Cutler said. “With his quickness and his ability to catch the ball, he's definitely a target. He got targeted a lot last week, so I'm sure Pittsburgh is working on that and they're going to try to take that away from us.”

The Bears try to take advantage of mismatches by balancing the run and pass out of the shotgun.

One of their favorite plays — particularly when the opposition is in one of their sub-package defenses — is the trips right shotgun inside counter.

The Bears line up with two receivers (Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall) to the left and two (Martellus Bennett and Earl Bennett) to the right. Marshall goes in motion left to right and sets up between both Bennetts.

With Cutler in the shotgun and Forte to his left, at the snap, right tackle Jordan Mills blocks the defensive end before shoving him past the hole on his way to the second-level linebacker. Guard Kyle Long hits the second level to cut off the weak-side linebacker. All three receivers get blocks on the cornerbacks, while Martellus Bennett cracks down on the left outside linebacker.

Meanwhile, left guard Matt Slauson pulls to the right to help on the defensive end to create a seam in between the guard and tackle.

Forte takes the inside handoff from Cutler and quickly tries to get to the hole between the guard and tackle.

With the Bears spreading out teams, it gives them a better chance to pop a big run.

“He can block. He can run. He can catch passes,” Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. “They haven't had him throw one recently, but I expect that he can do that.”

Forte had 161 total yards (90 rushing, 71 receiving) against the Vikings in Week 2.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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