Jordan Howard could become the NFL’s leading rusher Saturday night — at least a few hours.
The Bears running back currently sits in fourth place in the NFL, 73 yards behind leader Le’Veon Bell. The Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt, whose game starts minutes after the Bears’ ends Saturday, is in second place with 14 yards more than Howard’s 1,032.
Howard is playing the right team to make a move. The Lions have allowed more than 100 rushing yards per game to each of the last six teams, dating to before Halloween.
“You definitely make note of that,” Howard said, “but each game is different.”
Howard would happily take a rerun of his previous three games against the Lions, in which he’s averaged 107 rushing yards — on a ridiculous 6.3 yards per carry — and 15 receiving yards per game.
His 23 carries for 147 yards Sunday against the Bengals were his most for a non-overtime game this year, and his fifth triple-digit total of the year. He’s didn’t follow either of the previous four with another 100-yard game the next week, though.
“I know his numbers are getting up there — he’s at the top of the league,” Loggains said. “I don’t know this for a fact but I’d be willing to bet that most teams don’t have a backup like Tarik Cohen, so it takes away some of Jordan’s yards that way. He’s done a really good job this year.”
Sunday, Howard was able to do what he do best — wear down defenders over the course of the game. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry in the first half and 7 in the second half. That’s a credit to Howard’s endurance; Loggains has said all year that Howard was in superior shape to his standout rookie season, in which he finished second in the NFL in rushing.
“My line does a great job of getting me to the (linebackers), and I can pound the defenders,” Howard said. “By the fourth quarter, they don’t want to tackle me any more. They just want to grab.”
The Bears will lean on quarterback Mitch Trubisky against a defense that’s struggled against quarterback keepers. He ran for 53 yards in his first game against the Lions. Those read option looks — where Trubisky could keep the ball or hand off — will only help Howard.
“Just a different look for the defenses,” Howard said. “Makes the ends keep playing their lanes and play contain, and things like that.”
Howard might be the Bears’ most likely candidate when the NFL announces its Pro Bowl roster next week. Teammates have trumpeted him on social media.
The running back isn’t shy about wanting to go back; he was named to the all-star team his first year, too.
“(It’d be) a big honor,” he said, “because not many people get to go to the Pro Bowl.”
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