Coming into the 2009 NFL season, the big story for the Chicago Bears was Jay Cutler. For the first time in decades, da Bears had a franchise caliber quarterback, and they hoped that he would lead them back to glory. There are certainly signs that he will be the franchise player that they hope for. He had 27 TD passes, just two shy of the franchise record for a single season. He also threw for the second most single season passing yards in franchise history. Unfortunately, he also had the second most interceptions in a single season in franchise history. So, while Cutler had his issues, there is reason for hope going forward from the QB position. What about the rest of the team? This post will look at how the team as a whole performed when compared with their opponents’ season average on a per game basis.
Before going further, you should take a look at the Season Reviews Informational Post, if you haven’t already. It describes the methodology and data presented in the following tables.
Now that you have reviewed the methodology behind this data, let’s take a look at the data, and I will discuss it below.
|Team Offense||Value||Rank||Team Defense||Value||Rank|
|Pass Yards||3473||17||Pass Yards||3382||13|
|Pass TD||27||10||Pass TD||29||28|
|Pass INTs||27||30||Pass INTs||13||22|
|Rush Yards||1492||29||Rush Yards||2022||23|
|Rush TD||6||29||Rush TD||14||18|
|Chi Pts||Opp D||Opp Pts||Opp O|
|Opp||Score||Avg Pt||Diff1||Score||Avg Pt||Diff2|
|Green Bay Packers||15||18.56||-3.56||21||28.81||-7.81|
|San Francisco 49ers||6||17.56||-11.56||10||20.63||-10.63|
|St. Louis Rams||17||27.25||-10.25||9||10.94||-1.94|
|Green Bay Packers||14||18.56||-4.56||21||28.81||-7.81|
|Chi Yds||Opp D||Opp Yds||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff1||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff2|
|Green Bay Packers||352||284.44||67.56||226||379.06||-153.06|
|San Francisco 49ers||350||326.38||23.63||216||290.75||-74.75|
|St. Louis Rams||248||372.81||-124.81||233||279.38||-46.38|
|Green Bay Packers||254||284.44||-30.44||315||379.06||-64.06|
|Chi P-Yd||Opp D||Opp P-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff1||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff2|
|Green Bay Packers||266||201.13||64.88||150||261.25||-111.25|
|San Francisco 49ers||307||229.38||77.63||106||190.75||-84.75|
|St. Louis Rams||128||235.25||-107.25||98||167.88||-69.88|
|Green Bay Packers||195||201.13||-6.13||157||261.25||-104.25|
|Chi R-Yd||Opp D||Opp R-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff1||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff2|
|Green Bay Packers||86||83.31||2.69||76||117.81||-41.81|
|San Francisco 49ers||43||97||-54||110||100||10|
|St. Louis Rams||120||137.56||-17.56||135||111.5||23.5|
|Green Bay Packers||59||83.31||-24.31||158||117.81||40.19|
Just a glance at these numbers shows an average team, which I guess is a reflection of their 7-9 record. Looking at Table 1, we see that the Bears’ offensive and defensive rankings centered around 20 or so. In terms of passing offense, Chicago was average in yardage, pretty good in TDs, and horrible in interceptions. The rushing game had an uncharacteristically low ranking. The pass defense was decent, but the rush defense was also uncharacteristically poor.
In terms of points, Table 2 showed the comparison of the Bears points against opponents’ averages. Here again, the team just looked average. For the season, they scored about 20 points below and gave up about 20 points above the cumulative averages of their opponents. However, Table 3 does show a greater weakness in offense than defense. The cumulative yardage differential was about 5 times greater on offense than defense. However, while the offense as a whole was a greater weakness, when broken down in terms of the passing and rushing yards, Tables 4 and 5 show that the rushing defense was the greatest weakness overall.
The offensive weakness was about evenly split between passing and rushing offense. On the other side of the ball, passing defense was actually a relative strength, but rushing defense offset that by allowing over 200 cumulative yards above the opponents’ rushing averages.
Unfortunately for the Bears, their 10th or 11th pick (to be decided by coin flip) belongs to the Broncos now. They gave it up to get Cutler. Fortunately for them, probably their greatest overall weakness this year was his interceptions, which should be something that a good QB coach can correct. If that is the case, then the Bears’ biggest draft need would be someone who can help improve their rushing defense. Since they don’t have a first round pick, it may be a stretch to expect a rookie to come in and start at DT. I guess the question would be (and Bears fans would know the answer a little better) whether the team currently has any young guys that can be expected to improve next season and help shore up the run defense and overall offense. As with every team, we’ll see which direction they take. Given that there are no glaring strengths or weaknesses, best player available may be a very viable option.