It feels safe to say D’Onta Foreman will not be inactive again this season. With injuries in the Bears running back room beginning to mount, the sixth-year pro finally got the chance to show what he can do with an extended role against the Raiders, and he certainly did not disappoint. He kept the offense ahead of the sticks the whole game and finished the contest with 16 carries for 89 yards with another three catches for 31 yards. Perhaps even more impressive, he also reached the end zone three times, with two scores coming on the ground and a third through the air.

Tyson Bagent stole all the headlines with a solid debut performance, but there was no denying the fact that Foreman looked like Chicago’s best player on the offensive side of the ball. He had a gritty performance that would have made a prime Marshawn Lynch blush, constantly dragging defenders for extra yards and doing everything in his power to fight for every blade of grass. He looked to be much more than your average next-man-up, and he won’t be that again this season, even with a fully healthy backfield.

Chicago signed the bruising back to a one-year, $2 million contract in the offseason, and many expected him to have a role in the offense as the thunder to the Bears backfield (with Khalil Herbert providing more lightning). However, his outlook became muddied when the Bears selected Roschon Johnson in the fourth round, as they both possess similar skill sets. When the rook showed promise (and, more importantly, heart) in the season-opening loss against Green Bay, Foreman’s role had become all but eliminated.

While many backs might have become frustrated with his lack of usage through the first quarter of the season, it was nothing new for Foreman. In fact, he thrived in similar spots with the Panthers and Titans in each of the last two seasons. In Tennessee, he eclipsed the century mark three times in the final six games of the 2021 season after Derrick Henry suffered a season-ending injury. He had even more success in Carolina last year, as he finished the season on a complete tear after taking over lead-back duties in place of the departed Christian McCaffrey, whom the team traded away in mid-season. He had nearly 1000 yards despite having only 12 carries through the first six games.

Foreman has always made the most of his opportunities (he has eclipsed four yards per carry every year that he’s received double-digit attempts) and has seemingly improved each season. He fits the profile of a back that could have a late-career renaissance and longer shelf life than most at the position due to being severely underutilized early in his career. However, the Bears have one of the league’s deepest running back rooms when they’re all healthy, and, at this point, the odds of him sticking around in Chicago after this season appear slim. Nevertheless, he can definitely change that if he continues playing like he did on Sunday.

Foreman has gotten overlooked every step of the way. All eyes will be on Bagent against the Chargers on Sunday night. That’s understandable; His story is a great one. However, I’m even more interested to see if the veteran running back can stay hot against an exploitable run defense. If he can, they might be able to pull off another surprise on primetime.

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