After the Bears’ 16-13 win over the Panthers, D’Onta Foreman was clearly in pain. The running back labored at his locker, nursing a hurt ankle, before fielding questions. But when asked how he was doing, Foreman insisted he was ok.
“I finished the game. I’ll be fine.”
It was a gritty answer after a gritty performance that was key to a Bears victory. It was also indicative of why every single one of Foreman’s teammates appreciates how he puts his body on the line every time he touches the ball.
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“Phew, that boy’s a big-body Tonka truck running people over,” said Kyler Gordon. “It’s hard to get him out the game and I know he loves it, so he’s gonna keep putting his shoulder down and running dudes over and gaining more yards. I hope he keeps scoring touchdowns for us too.”
Foreman worked as a tone setter for the Bears offense early in the game, just as he has for the past month. He fought for yards, kept the offense ahead of the chains and converted several first downs.
But halfway through the second quarter, Foreman tweaked his ankle and took himself out of the game. He had a lengthy stay in the blue injury tent and didn’t check back into the game for the rest of the first half. Instead, he stood on the sidelines with his helmet in his hands.
When the Bears took the ball for the first drive of the third quarter, however, Foreman was in the huddle. It gave the Bears a lift, both on the sidelines and in the huddle.
“It gives everybody hope,” said Roschon Johnson.
Foreman delivered on that hope, too. One series later, the Bears started with excellent field position, at the Panthers’ 38-yard line. They were down 10-9 with a golden opportunity to take a lead for the first time all night and knew they couldn’t squander the chance.
“Any situation like that when you get the ball plus-40 and you have that type of momentum, defense is playing great, you have to go score,” said left tackle Braxton Jones. “We told ourselves that.”
Foreman ended up carrying the ball four times and gained 21 of the 38 yards they needed to score, and was the man who ultimately found the end zone.
“It was inside zone,” Foreman said about his touchdown run. “I tried to pressure, then when I bent it back I knew Frankie Luvu was going to play over the top, so it was just kind of mano a mano, who’s going to win, and I came out on top.”
There was no way Foreman was going to miss the second half of the game on Thursday. Standing on the sidelines was not an option.
“I was not coming out at all. Just got it taped up and got back out there.”
The Bears are fortunate he did, or they may not have scored a touchdown all night. In the end, Foreman carried the ball 21 times for 80 yards and the touchdown. He added two catches for 12 yards. He had 11 carries for 41 yards after hurting his ankle.
“He’s as tough as they come,” said Johnson.
“He’s a hard dude,” said Jones. “He really is physically and mentally tough. He takes it to guys and we respect that. We love guys in the backfield who are running hard. You can’t do anything else but play hard for a guy like that.”