While the Chicago Bears are having a disastrous NFL season, former Indiana running back Jordan Howard has provided a bright spot for many Bears fans.
While fan bases drool over the success of former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott’s stand out rookie season, they are forgetting someone. The 6’0, 222 pound running back drafted out of Indiana University, Jordan Howard.
Jordan Howard accomplished a feat on Sunday that only four other Bears players in history can say they have done. Rush for 1,000+ yards in their rookie season. Howard joins the list of Matt Forte (2008), Anthony Thomas (2001), Rashaan Salaam (1995), and Beattie Feathers (1934). Take into account that Jordan Howard did not start the season as the Chicago Bears’ number one running back.
After a struggling Jeremy Langford battled constant injuries, Howard was able to make the most of his opportunity. He impressed head coach John Fox so much that he took the job away from Langford even after his return. Accordingly, Howard has five 100+ yard games including his breakout performance against the Minnesota Vikings on Halloween.
The Chicago Bears are bottom feeders this year, but they may have struck gold in their 5th round running back. The hype around Jordan Howard was mere shrugs at the beginning of the season, not many NFL fans knowing the name or the play. Howard seemingly knew he had the perfect opportunity to showcase his worth to the Bears.
In fact, Howard is proving to the NFL that he is among one of the best backs in the league this year. The rookie has been able to stay healthy and productive (when given the ball) on the field. Jordan Howard is the 8th leading rusher (1,059 yards) in the NFL. Howard is ahead of highly touted first round picks such as Melvin Gordon (10th, 997 yards) and Todd Gurley III (18th, 778 yards). Howard also ranks in the top 5 in yards per game (81.5) behind elite rushers such as Demarco Murray and Le’Veon Bell.
We all know by now running back Ezekiel Elliott presumably will take the reign of 2016 Rookie of the Year. Take a look at some of the advance statistics between both Howard and Elliott.
The case over the next few weeks will be fought for Jordan Howard. Put him in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. At the very least, allow the debate to spark interest among other fans besides the Bears and Hoosiers. His impressive role for a lackluster Chicago football team has provided hope that they found their future offensive star.