The Bears' success running the ball the past two weeks has been a group effort that extends even beyond their offensive linemen.
Receivers, tight ends and running backs also have been instrumental in throwing blocks that have enabled the Bears to rush for 188 yards and three touchdowns on 39 carries in a win over the Lions Oct. 3 and 143 yards and one TD on 37 attempts in last Sunday's victory over the Raiders.
Against the Raiders, right guard James Daniels buried linebacker Denzel Perryman into the ground on a Khalil Herbert run. Tight end Jimmy Graham drove defensive end Darius Philon back five yards on another Herbert rush. And receiver Darnell Mooney sealed off the edge by blocking safety Johnathan Abram on Damien Williams' 4-yard touchdown run.
"It was everybody," said coach Matt Nagy. "The communication right now is really good amongst the offensive line and tight ends, the wide receivers as well. The running backs are doing a good job with their vision."
Successful first-down runs have kept the Bears out of predictable passing situations and enabled them to sustain drives.
"You have more of those four, five, six, sevens than we've had in the past where at times there's been ones and twos," Nagy said. "That helps out your second down, which can help out your third down. And that's just a total compliment to the players and the coaches for really creating that identity."
Praise for Herbert: Quarterback Justin Fields has been impressed with Herbert since they both reported to Halas Hall for rookie minicamp in May.
"Since Day 1, Khalil's came to work," Fields said. "I feel like he's treated this whole process like a veteran. Like literally every time I pull up, he's always here. In the morning, he's here early. He really takes his work seriously. He's a hard worker in the weight room. After practice, he's always out there doing extra little moves or on the JUGS machine. He's a hard worker, and he's just a great person overall."
With David Montgomery unavailable due to a knee injury, Herbert made the most of expanded playing time against the Raiders, leading the Bears in rushing with 75 yards on 18 carries.
Next man up: Right tackle Germain Ifedi was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, but Nagy said that the knee injury the six-year veteran suffered in the second quarter against the Raiders is not season ending. Being put on IR means that Ifedi must sit out at least three games.
The Bears were pleased with how veteran Elijah Wilkinson performed after replacing the injured Ifedi.
"I thought he did well," Nagy said. "There's a lot of evidence of him on tape doing some really good things, in particular in the run game and then a couple times in the pass game."
Wilkinson signed with the Bears in March after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Broncos, appearing in 45 games with 26 starts. So far this season, he has filled in at both left and right tackle positions at times.
"He's been great this whole time," Nagy said, "this whole process of understanding when he first got here, to where he's at right now, to understanding the depth that he helped us with, and now where he's at as we go through this right tackle process. That's the good part of having depth: you get a guy like him and then you have a few other guys as well, so it's good."
Injury update: Nagy revealed Wednesday that the torn pectoral muscle outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu sustained against the Raiders will require surgery and end his season.
Attaochu, who signed with the Bears in March after spending seven seasons with the Chargers (2014-17), Jets (2018) and Broncos (2019-20), registered two tackles in the first five games.
Nagy also said that rookie linebacker Caleb Johnson is week-to-week with a knee injury that forced him to exit the Raiders game. Johnson was one of five Bears who did not practice Wednesday due to injuries.
The others were receiver Allen Robinson II (ankle), defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (groin), outside linebacker Khalil Mack (foot) and tight end J.P. Holtz (quad). Williams (foot/knee), Mooney (groin) and linebacker Christian Jones (back) were limited.