Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert provide boost to Bears run game

By Alyssa Barbieri

One of the big concerns for the Bears offense entering Sunday’s game against the Raiders was the loss of running back David Montgomery, who suffered a knee sprain in a Week 4 win over the Lions and is expected to be sidelined 3-5 weeks.

While there was plenty of confidence in Damien Williams and rookie Khalil Herbert to step in for an injured Montgomery, they certainly exceeded expectations and were a big reason for the offense’s success in a 20-9 upset win against the Raiders.

Williams and Herbert combined for 34 carries and 139 rushing yards and a touchdown with both averaging more than 4 yards per carry. Herbert led the Bears with 18 carries for 75 yards and Williams added 16 carries for 64 yards and a score.

“I know [Montgomery] is at home now watching this and he’s proud,” said head coach Matt Nagy. “For Damien Williams to step up and have 16 carries. For Khalil Herbert to come in as a rookie and run the ball like he did — that’s impressive.

“It talks to the offensive line and the tight ends. It talks a lot to those running backs. It talks a lot to our coaches for getting those guys ready. I think you guys [reporters] would probably agree there’s a little bit of an identity going on right now.”

While Williams has found success like this in the past with the Chiefs, this was Herbert’s first significant action as a rookie, and his performance was surely promising.

“Man, I was telling him all game — especially coming out in the second half — ‘This is on you now,’” Williams said. “I gave my first blows in the first half. Now it’s your turn to get your blows in.’ As a young kid coming into this environment, he held himself great.

“He’s a very consistent person and I feel like if he continues to do that, he’s going to have a long, long future.”

While the loss of Montgomery still looms large, the Bears are certainly in capable hands with Williams and Herbert in the run game.

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