January 25, 2021

Bear Down, Nerd Up: Chicago Bears stat breakdown and useless info, Week 12

As always, the numbers speak for themselves.

Bears fans should feel sickened by what their rival Green Bay Packers have done to them over the past three decades. Sunday's beat down was only the latest edition of the turmoil.

Chairman George McCaskey and the rest of the Bears’ brass should be fed up. Time and time again, the Packers best the Bears. The numbers tell the story.

Win No. 100: If you watched the Bears-Packers "Sunday Night Football" broadcast on NBC, then you saw what basically became an infomercial for the Packers in the second half. Notably, Aaron Rodgers is catching up on Brett Favre for the most Packers touchdown passes against their rival Bears. Both quarterbacks have thrown more than 50 touchdown passes against the Bears. The Bears' top four quarterbacks against the Packers combine for fewer than 50. The Bears' top-four list included Sid Luckman, who last played 70 years ago.

Insult to injury, as they say, on national TV.

Of all the demoralizing numbers that stand out about this rivalry over the past 30 or so years, none is more wild than this: The Bears once led the all-time series with the Packers by a tally of 81-57-6, yet the Packers reached 100 wins first.

Green Bay picked up win No. 100 on Sunday night, improving to 100-95-6 in the series (including two playoff games). Since 1992, when the Bears expanded their lead to 24 games, Favre and Rodgers have owned the matchup. Meanwhile, the Bears have had a revolving door of starting quarterbacks. Jay Cutler gave the Bears some longevity at the position, but his 2-11 record against the Packers was nothing to cheer about.

No Hicks: Without defensive tackle Akiem Hicks on Sunday, the Packers ran it down the Bears' throats with ease. The Packers as a team rushed for 150 yards on 25 carries between the tackles, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

Per Next Gen Stats, since 2018, Bears opponents are averaging 3.6 yards per carry inside the tackles on 253 carries when Hicks is in the game. In that same time frame with a similar workload of 245 carries, Bears’ opponents are averaging 4.3 yards per carry when Hicks is not in the game.

The Bears surrendered 182 total rushing yards. It was the most of the Matt Nagy era, and the most since allowing 208 rushing yards against Washington on Dec. 24, 2016.

Defensive mishap: Nagy whipped out his own stat Monday morning in his session with the media. The Packers ran 38 plays on their first three possessions, each of which ended with a touchdown. By Nagy's count, the Bears allowed 22 plays of five yards or more on those 38 plays.

Upon further review, it was 20 of 38, but it appears Nagy was also counting two penalties on plays that didn’t count. Either way, the first three drives were back breaking for the Bears.

The Packers had 18 first downs on those three possessions. They had only 10 more the remainder of the game. Rodgers finished the first half 15-for-18 passing for 128 yards and three touchdowns.

“That's not who our defense is,” Nagy said. “And our guys, they need to understand where we're coming from with that and how we feed off of them as a defense. They've done a hell of a job all year long, but (Sunday) was not where we need to be.”

Rookie on the rise?: Bears tight end Cole Kmet played more snaps than he ever has Sunday against the Packers. His 54 offensive snaps (79% of offensive plays) outpaced Jimmy Graham's 24 (35%).

Still, Kmet had one catch to show for it, which went for eight yards. Kmet dropped one of his three targets at the goal line, which could’ve been his second career touchdown. Graham, meanwhile, caught three passes for 32 yards.

“That one down on the goal line is one he would certainly like to have back and finish that one with a reception and it would have been a touchdown,” Bears tight ends coach Clancy Barone said.

Barone said Kmet’s increased reps has been by design. The Bears always planned to move slow with Kmet and increase his role as the year went on.

“As far as becoming an all-around tight end, he is an all-around tight end,” Barone said. “We’ve talked about this before and even looked at the film on it. As far as him being a surprisingly good blocker in the run game and in protection, his route running, his speed is deceptive. Now, it’s just a matter of having the targets I guess that would help kind of verify that.”

Bears fans are waiting for it, too.

Rare company: Per Elias Sports Bureau, the Bears are only the second team in NFL history to win at least five of their first six games, then lose the next five. The 2020 Bears join the 1967 San Francisco 49ers, who started 5-1 before losing their next six games. The 49ers won their last two games to finish the year 7-7. They did not make the postseason that year.

Playoffs?: Per FiveThirtyEight, the Bears still have a 24% chance to make the postseason. Obviously, analytics and the eye test tell two different stories. ESPN's football power index is much less optimistic. It projects the Bears with a 15% chance at reaching the playoffs.

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.