NGSC Sports

By the Numbers: Behind the Bears Offensive Struggles

The 2014 Chicago Bears offense has been a disappointment in the eyes of many through the first seven games of the season. Turnovers are apart of the problem, but so are play calling and execution. These issues combine to create an overall lack of production.

A high amount of turnovers committed by the Bears offense have been the basis of conversations regarding their dysfunction and there is plenty of truth behind that narrative. According to, Jay Cutler’s seven interceptions make the Bears the 12th most intercepted team in the NFL. The Bears have also fumbled seven times this season.

In addition to the high volume of interceptions by Cutler, head coach Marc Trestman’s play calling should take as much or more blame. The Bears are currently 23rd in the NFL in offensive plays ran per game (, and while turnovers contribute to this total, this ranking also displays a clear struggle to sustain drives.

Despite running so few plays per game, and the interception rate, the Bears are fifth in the NFL in pass attempts per game.

In fact, only the Raiders, Falcons, Jaguars, Buccaneers and Saints rank higher in pass play percentage per game.

The pass to run play percentage is about 64 percent to 36 percent. This gives about a third of their offensive plays to their rushing attack led by veteran Matt Forte.

So far this year, Forte is averaging four yards per carry with three touchdowns. His versatility has helped the Bears in the pass game, but his production on the ground suggests a few more carries could help the pass game even more and make Cutler more efficient with his talented receiving core, specifically Brandon Marshall who is usually the primary concern for defensive coordinators. Below are the reception and target numbers for each Bears receiver that has a least 20 targets.

M. Forte             52 receptions        62 targets        reception percentage: 84%

M. Bennett        41  receptions        58 targets        reception percentage: 71%

A. Jeffery          33 receptions        53 targets        reception percentage: 62%

B.  Marshall      31 receptions        56 targets         reception percentage: 55%


Forte has the highest reception rate on the team, but this is the standard as many running backs run short routes that lead to easy check down options for their quarterback. The most alarming takeaway from this data should be that Brandon Marshall was targeted just six less times than Forte, despite  having the lowest reception percentage on the team.

Therefore, the Bears must find a way to be more efficient in getting the ball to Marshall or aggressively involve a third wide receiver or second tight end in the passing game.

Of course the easy option is to run the ball on more than 36 percent of their offensive plays.

Using Ka’Deem Carey and more of Matt Forte could create a potentially dynamic rushing attack. Also through establishing the run, they might have a chance to extend more drives and improve on their 23rd rank in offensive plays per game or at least give their defense a longer rest on the sidelines. Finally, the aforementioned strategies could also limit the turnovers which have been the most visible issue with this offense.

Regardless of how Trestman elects to proceed, we all expect to see something different from the Bears as they go on the road to face the New England Patriots in a must-win game. It’s also worth noting that the Patriots are currently giving up the least passing yards per game in the NFL.





Author Profile

This is the "wpengine" admin user that our staff uses to gain access to your admin area to provide support and troubleshooting. It can only be accessed by a button in our secure log that auto generates a password and dumps that password after the staff member has logged in. We have taken extreme measures to ensure that our own user is not going to be misused to harm any of our clients sites.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: