Reviewing the Chicago Bears 2009 Season

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 28: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears prepares to throw the game-winning touchdown pass to Devin Aromashodu against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 36-30 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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
Points 327 19 Points 375 21
Yards 4965 23 Yards 5404 17
Cmp 340 Cmp 341
Att 563 Att 531
Pass Yards 3473 17 Pass Yards 3382 13
NY/A 5.8 19 NY/A 6 15
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
Y/A 4 26 Y/A 4.3 18
Sacks 35 19 Sacks 35 14

Table 1


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
Pittsburgh Steelers 17 20.25 -3.25 14 23 -9
Seattle Seahawks 25 24.38 0.63 19 17.5 1.5
Detroit Lions 48 30.88 17.13 24 16.38 7.63
Atlanta Falcons 14 20.31 -6.31 21 22.69 -1.69
Cincinnati Bengals 10 18.19 -8.19 45 19.06 25.94
Cleveland Browns 30 23.44 6.56 6 15.31 -9.31
Arizona Cardinals 21 20.31 0.69 41 23.44 17.56
San Francisco 49ers 6 17.56 -11.56 10 20.63 -10.63
Philadelphia Eagles 20 21.06 -1.06 24 26.81 -2.81
Minnesota Vikings 10 19.5 -9.5 36 29.38 6.63
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
Baltimore Ravens 7 16.31 -9.31 31 24.44 6.56
Minnesota Vikings 36 19.5 16.5 30 29.38 0.63
Detroit Lions 37 30.88 6.13 23 16.38 6.63
Sum Difference -19.94 22.06

Table 2


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
Pittsburgh Steelers 275 305.31 -30.31 308 371.31 -63.31
Seattle Seahawks 318 356.44 -38.44 346 316.81 29.19
Detroit Lions 276 392.13 -116.13 398 299 99
Atlanta Falcons 373 348.88 24.13 253 340.44 -87.44
Cincinnati Bengals 279 301.38 -22.38 448 309.13 138.88
Cleveland Browns 369 389.31 -20.31 191 260.19 -69.19
Arizona Cardinals 417 346.44 70.56 438 344.38 93.63
San Francisco 49ers 350 326.38 23.63 216 290.75 -74.75
Philadelphia Eagles 284 321.06 -37.06 377 357.88 19.13
Minnesota Vikings 169 305.5 -136.5 537 379.63 157.38
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
Baltimore Ravens 220 300.5 -80.5 346 351.19 -5.19
Minnesota Vikings 363 305.5 57.5 423 379.63 43.38
Detroit Lions 418 392.13 25.88 349 299 50
Sum Difference -367.63 67.19

Table 3


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
Pittsburgh Steelers 231 215.44 15.56 203 259.25 -56.25
Seattle Seahawks 233 245.44 -12.44 243 218.94 24.06
Detroit Lions 125 265.56 -140.56 308 198 110
Atlanta Falcons 290 242.06 47.94 185 223.19 -38.19
Cincinnati Bengals 244 203.06 40.94 233 180.63 52.38
Cleveland Browns 199 244.69 -45.69 74 129.75 -55.75
Arizona Cardinals 347 233.69 113.31 256 251 5
San Francisco 49ers 307 229.38 77.63 106 190.75 -84.75
Philadelphia Eagles 158 216.38 -58.38 220 255.56 -35.56
Minnesota Vikings 126 218.38 -92.38 378 259.75 118.25
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
Baltimore Ravens 98 207.25 -109.25 222 213.69 8.31
Minnesota Vikings 258 218.38 39.63 300 259.75 40.25
Detroit Lions 268 265.56 2.44 249 198 51
Sum Difference -169.75 -146.63

Table 4


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
Pittsburgh Steelers 44 89.88 -45.88 105 112.06 -7.06
Seattle Seahawks 85 111 -26 103 97.88 5.13
Detroit Lions 151 126.56 24.44 90 101 -11
Atlanta Falcons 83 106.81 -23.81 68 117.25 -49.25
Cincinnati Bengals 35 98.31 -63.31 215 128.5 86.5
Cleveland Browns 170 144.63 25.38 117 130.44 -13.44
Arizona Cardinals 70 112.75 -42.75 182 93.38 88.63
San Francisco 49ers 43 97 -54 110 100 10
Philadelphia Eagles 126 104.69 21.31 157 102.31 54.69
Minnesota Vikings 43 87.13 -44.13 159 119.88 39.13
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
Baltimore Ravens 122 93.25 28.75 124 137.5 -13.5
Minnesota Vikings 105 87.13 17.88 123 119.88 3.13
Detroit Lions 150 126.56 23.44 100 101 -1
Sum Difference -197.88 213.81

Table 5

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.

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