Why the Chicago Bears Are Protecting Justin Fields

Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields
Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 3 - The Chicago Bears threw barely any passes against San Francisco in Week 1, but we chalked it up to a rainstorm. Then they threw even fewer against Green Bay in Week 2, but we wrote it off as a fluke. After a third consecutive game where they did everything they could to hide Justin Fields, however, it's becoming clear: this year's Bears are turning into one of the most run-heavy teams in NFL history.

Fields threw 17 passes against Houston on Sunday, matching his sum from the 49ers game. In between, he only threw 11 passes against the Packers. That's a total of 45 Chicago pass attempts in three games, 10 fewer than any other team—and that's before Monday Night Football, when the New York Giants (55 passes in their first two games) face the Dallas Cowboys (73). By the time the sun rises on Tuesday morning, the Atlanta Falcons will probably be next to last in passes thrown with 79—still 75% more than the Bears. (Indeed, the Giants threw 37 passes on Monday night, while the Cowboys threw 31.)

Meanwhile, Chicago has run the ball 104 times, second only to the 114 of Cleveland. (These are all official NFL totals, which means defensive pass interference penalties don't count, but spikes and kneeldowns do. And quarterback scrambles count as rushing plays—Fields has run 27 times for 95 yards this season, including 79 yards on 10 scrambles.) That's more than twice as many runs as passes, but we haven't counted sacks yet, and Fields has somehow taken 10 sacks despite dropping back only two or three times per drive. Only four quarterbacks have taken more sacks this year. This somewhat explains Chicago's reluctance to pass—Fields will never get any better if he's stuck in a body cast.

That leaves us with 104 runs and 55 pass plays for the Bears, a run/pass ratio of 1.89, by far the highest in the league. In fact, over a full season, it would be the highest for any NFL team in 45 years, since the Raiders and Patriots both hit it in 1977. But this undersells how run-heavy the Bears are compared to their peers because it's ignoring what the rest of the league has been doing. Thanks largely to the pass-happy attacks in the AFL, there were slightly more passes than runs in the 1960s, but that stopped in a big way after the merger, with the NFL's average run/pass ratio hitting 1.22 in the 1970s. It has been steadily dropping since then, to 0.90 in the 1980s, 0.80 in both the 1990s and 2000s, and 0.72 since 2010. So far in 2022, the average NFL team has a run/pass ratio of 0.68, which would be the lowest of any season in our data, and that's even with the Bears skewing things heavily toward the run.

The top 30 teams in raw run/pass ratio all played in the 1950s or 1970s, with the 1950 New York Giants leading the way at 2.75, but this year's Bears stand out as a run-heavy team in an outrageously pass-heavy era. Dividing Chicago's run/pass ratio by the 2022 average gives us a Modified Run/Pass ratio (or MoRP, which is really fun to say) of 2.77, which is absolutely unheard of. Those 1950 Giants (2.05) are the only other team to double their league's average run/pass ratio. Quite a few teams of more recent vintage, however, appear right behind them. The 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers finish in second place with a MoRP of 1.91, along with the Jets of 2009 (1.85) and the Ravens of both 2019 (1.82) and 2020 (1.76). You can't really compare Lamar Jackson to anyone else as a quarterback, but it's worth noting that those Steelers and Jets were both playing rookies at the position in Ben Roethlisberger and Mark Sanchez. This suggests that teams tend to go run-heavy when they're protecting younger passers.

What's even more unusual about Chicago's anemophobia is that they have often been playing from behind, scoring 52 points in three games while allowing 57. Simple linear regression of every team since 1950 tells us the Bears should have a MoRP of 0.98, passing slightly more and running slightly less than an average team this season. The difference between Chicago's expected MoRP and actual MoRP is 1.79, more than twice that of any team on record. The following team shows the top 12 teams in this category since 1950. The Bears are threatening a record set 50 years ago by … the Chicago Bears.

Most Run-Heavy Teams Adjusted for Era and Scoring, 1950-2021
Year Team Run Pass R/P MoRP PF PA PF/PA Exp
MoRP
MoRP
over
Exp
QB
1972 CHI 536 237 2.26 1.80 225 275 0.818 0.960 0.843 B.Douglass
1950 NYG 515 187 2.75 2.05 268 150 1.787 1.215 0.832 C.Conerly
1951 WAS 547 226 2.42 1.74 183 296 0.618 0.907 0.832 S.Baugh
1973 BUF 605 244 2.48 1.86 259 230 1.126 1.041 0.819 J.Ferguson
1982 NE 324 202 1.60 1.78 143 157 0.911 0.984 0.794 S.Grogan
1958 CLE1 475 206 2.31 1.90 302 217 1.392 1.111 0.785 M.Plum
2004 PIT 618 394 1.57 1.91 372 251 1.482 1.135 0.773 B.Roethlisberger
2009 NYJ 607 423 1.43 1.85 348 236 1.475 1.133 0.712 M.Sanchez
1984 CHI 674 426 1.58 1.79 325 248 1.310 1.090 0.701 J.McMahon
1967 CHI 489 295 1.66 1.69 239 218 1.096 1.033 0.656 J.Concannon
1958 WAS 480 251 1.91 1.57 214 268 0.799 0.955 0.618 E.LeBaron
1988 NE 588 412 1.43 1.59 250 284 0.880 0.976 0.618 D.Flutie

It turns out that run-heavy offenses, like deep dish pizza and Italian beef, are a Chicago tradition—Fields is likely to be the fourth Bears quarterback on this table, should he survive the year. At the top we find Bobby Douglass, a key contributor to the Bears' running game in 1972—his 968 rushing yards that year were a record for quarterbacks for 34 years until Michael Vick broke it in 2006, and surpassed since then only by Lamar Jackson (in both 2019 and 2020). Though Douglass had started 15 games across his first three seasons, 1972 was his first year as a full-time starter, showing again how teams like to protect young quarterbacks. The same holds true for Jack Concannon; after three years spent mostly on the bench in Philadelphia, he joined the Bears in 1967 and became a regular starter for the first time. He spent most of that year handing off to Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, also running for 279 yards and three touchdowns himself. Jim McMahon was in his third season in 1984, and already racking up the injuries. Chicago's devotion to the run that year may have been driven by a devotion to keep McMahon upright—they actually had a higher run/pass ratio in the nine games he started (1.99) than in the seven games he missed (1.21).

It turns out that most quarterbacks here were also young and/or unproven. We already mentioned that Roethlisberger and Sanchez were rookies. So was Joe Ferguson with the Bills in 1973, when Orenthal James Simpson broke the 2,000-yard barrier. Charlie Conerly was in his second year as a starter in 1950; he would go on to finish second in MVP voting behind Johnny Unitas in 1959. Doug Flutie, who began his NFL career as a teammate of McMahon's in Chicago, was a starter for the first time in 1988 in New England.

The few veterans here are an odd mix. Sammy Baugh was in his last full season in 1951 before splitting time in 1952 with Eddie LeBaron … who would qualify on his own in 1958, when he made the Pro Bowl on a team that finished 11th out of 12 teams in pass attempts. As for Steve Grogan, he was a seasoned 29-year-old with the Patriots in 1982, the strike-shortened season likely skewing his team's statistics.

If teams that go run-heavy usually do so to protect inexperienced passers, does that mean teams that throw a lot are usually built around great quarterbacks? The list of the most pass-heavy teams since 1950 show the answer is a resounding "yes."

Most Pass-Heavy Teams Adjusted for Era and Scoring, 1950-2021
Year Team Run Pass R/P MoR/P PF PA PF/PA Exp
MoR/P
MoRP
over
Exp
QB
1991 HOIL 331 691 0.48 0.58 386 251 1.538 1.150 -0.567 W.Moon
1990 HOIL 328 678 0.48 0.57 405 307 1.319 1.092 -0.525 W.Moon
1950 LARM 404 453 0.89 0.66 466 309 1.508 1.142 -0.479 N.Van Brocklin
1951 GB 313 478 0.65 0.47 254 375 0.677 0.923 -0.452 T.Rote
2021 TB 385 754 0.51 0.70 511 353 1.448 1.126 -0.423 T.Brady
1981 MIN 391 738 0.53 0.56 325 369 0.881 0.976 -0.421 T.Kramer
1983 KC 387 687 0.56 0.60 386 367 1.052 1.021 -0.416 B.Kenney
1992 HOIL 353 605 0.58 0.69 352 258 1.364 1.104 -0.413 W.Moon
1986 MIA 349 662 0.53 0.61 430 405 1.062 1.024 -0.413 D.Marino
1979 SD 481 572 0.84 0.78 411 246 1.671 1.185 -0.407 D.Fouts
1962 DEN 322 589 0.55 0.62 353 334 1.057 1.023 -0.405 F.Tripucka
1993 HOIL 409 657 0.62 0.76 368 238 1.546 1.152 -0.393 W.Moon

The run 'n' shoot Houston Oilers of the early 1990s dominate this table, finishing in first, second, eighth, and 12th place. In an era when most teams were still using split-back formations, and motion tight ends called H-backs were considered cutting edge, the Oilers got themselves a Hall of Fame quarterback and put him on the field with four wide receivers on virtually every snap. They weren't alone—the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons both reached the playoffs in 1991 using similar schemes, and seasons when those franchises are simultaneously successful are rare indeed—but nobody took it to extremes like Warren Moon and the Oilers.

Not surprisingly, Moon is not the only Hall of Fame passer we see here—Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, and Tom Brady (just last year with the Buccaneers) also appear. So do Norm Van Brocklin and Bob Waterfield, who spent the 1950 season swapping in and out for the Rams. Tobin Rote is not in the Hall of Fame, but he won championships in both the NFL (1957 Lions) and AFL (1963 Chargers), and he deserves extra credit for the load he carried for the 1951 Packers—not only was he throwing the ball for one of the most pass-happy teams of all time, but he also ran 76 times for 523 yards and three touchdowns, leading Green Bay in all three categories.

Frank Tripucka is not in the Hall of Fame either, but he had a long, intriguing career. He spent six years in the NFL and seven in the CFL before joining the fledgling AFL in its first season in 1960. The most experienced quarterback in the early days of that league, it's no surprise that he was its top volume passer that season and again in 1962. He only played two games for Denver in 1963, then made a brief return to Canada before retiring. As for Tommy Kramer and Bill Kenney … look, you got me. Both had been starters for several forgettable seasons by the time their teams qualified for this list, and had done little to show they were more than average starters. Why the Vikings and Chiefs decided to let them go hog-wild, I have no idea. Kenney never made the top 10 in pass attempts again, spending the rest of his career in a never-ending duel with Todd Blackledge. Kramer at least stuck as Minnesota's starter for most of the 1980s, making the Pro Bowl and leading the league in passer rating in 1986.

Lastly, we should note that as of right now, the 2022 Buffalo Bills would finish on top of this table with a MoRP over expected of -0.627, the most pass-heavy offense on record when accounting for era and scoreboard. However, unlike Chicago, they're not likely to finish there by the end of the season—they're much closer to the teams in the second table than the Bears are to the teams in the first, meaning they're more likely to fall back to the pack as we get a larger sample size, and especially when the harsh winds start to blow off Lake Erie later in the year.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Trevor Lawrence JAX
28/39
262
3
0
0
167
164
4
LAC
Lawrence was successful on 59% of his dropbacks, best in the NFL in Week 3. He was the week's best quarterback in the third quarter (6-of-8 for 59 yards with a touchdown) and on throws to his right (14-of-17 for 149 yards and a pair of touchdowns).
2.
Jalen Hurts PHI
22/35
340
3
0
3
166
177
-11
WAS
Hurts did most of his damage in the second quarter, when he went 14-of-19 for 214 yards and three touchdowns, plus a 17-yard DPI. He was the week's best passer on deep balls, going 4-of-9 for 167 yards, plus a pair of DPIs for 40 more yards … but, oddly, none of his touchdowns.
3.
Lamar Jackson BAL
18/29
218
4
1
4
136
84
52
NE
As a runner, Jackson led all quarterbacks with eight carries for 110 yards; six of those carries gained first downs, including a touchdown. As a passer, Jackson led all quarterbacks on throws to tight ends (11-of-17 for 105 yards and three touchdowns) and in the red zone (8-of-9 for 53 yards with four touchdowns and a sack).
4.
Geno Smith SEA
32/44
325
2
1
2
125
132
-7
ATL
Smith had two carries, which had dramatically different results: a 3-yard loss on second-and-2 and a 2-yard gain on third-and-1. He was perfect on throws to tight ends, completing all nine of his throws for 105 yards and a touchdown.
5.
Kirk Cousins MIN
24/40
260
2
0
1
102
102
0
DET
The Vikings kept finding themselves with bad field position against Detroit, but Cousins kept getting them out of it. His four throws from inside his own 25 resulted in three completions for 43 yards, each of them picking up a first down, plus a 21-yard DPI.
6.
Cooper Rush DAL
21/31
215
1
0
0
101
101
0
NYG
7.
Jacoby Brissett CLE
21/31
220
2
0
2
98
87
11
PIT
Brissett ended the first half on a hot streak, completing 10 passes in a row for 95 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he threw one more pass in the half: an incompletion on fourth-and-2 in Pittsburgh territory. Down 14-13 at the time, that could have been a huge play, but fortunately for Brissett the Browns rallied to win in the second half.
8.
Josh Allen BUF
42/62
400
2
0
4
97
93
4
MIA
Allen was the week's best passer on throws to running backs, going 16-of-20 for 143 yards and a touchdown. He gained five first downs on the ground, rushing eight times for 46 yards, though he had two carries that lost yards and also fumbled once.
9.
Joe Burrow CIN
23/36
275
3
0
2
97
101
-4
NYJ
Burrow came into Week 3 as the season's worst passer by DYAR, but wasted no time on improving that standing. He was the best passer in the first quarter this week, going 11-of-15 for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He was also the best passer on third/fourth downs, going 8-of-11 for 125 yards and a sack; six of those completions moved the chains, including three scores.
10.
Matthew Stafford LAR
18/25
249
0
0
1
96
93
3
ARI
Stafford led all quarterbacks this week in DYAR on throws from under center, going 7-of-9 for 132 yards with one sack.
11.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
19/27
264
1
1
1
93
88
5
LV
The Titans scored touchdowns on each of their first three drives. As you might expect, that was the best part of the game for Tannehill, who went 11-of-12 for 163 yards and a touchdown as Tennessee took a 21-10 lead.
12.
Tom Brady TB
31/42
271
1
0
3
85
85
0
GB
Brady led all quarterbacks in DYAR in the fourth quarter and overtime, going 13-of-16 for 124 yards with one touchdown, one 7-yard DPI, and one sack.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Tua Tagovailoa MIA
13/18
186
1
0
1
84
88
-4
BUF
Tagovialoa's average dropback came with a league-worst 10.5 yards to go for a first down. When he only had to go 10 yards or less for a first down, he was electric: 10-of-12 for 131 yards and a touchdown. His biggest completion, though, was a 45-yard gain to Jaylen Waddle to convert a third-and-22.
14.
Jared Goff DET
25/40
277
1
1
0
83
86
-3
MIN
Goff's average dropback came with a league-low 7.1 yards to go for a first down. He was at his best with 5 yards or less to go, going 8-of-14 for 109 yards and a touchdown.
15.
Derek Carr LV
26/44
303
2
1
1
82
72
10
TEN
Carr had the worst DYAR this week on throws to tight ends, going 6-of-10 for 66 yards with one interception and one completion that lost yards.
16.
Aaron Rodgers GB
27/35
255
2
1
1
66
66
0
TB
For all the concern about Green Bay's wide receivers this year, it was their tight ends and running backs who struggled against Tampa Bay. On throws to those positions, Rodgers went 13-of-16 for 80 yards and an interception. Only two of those completions picked up first downs; 23 of the yards came on one play. Rodgers also had the worst DYAR in the third quarter, going 7-of-10 for only 36 yards with an interception.
17.
Patrick Mahomes KC
20/35
262
1
1
1
54
41
13
IND
It's not often that we write about Patrick Mahomes being the worst at … well, anything. But he was the worst passer this week on throws down the middle, going 2-of-9 for 11 yards with more interceptions (one) than first downs (zero).
18.
Marcus Mariota ATL
13/20
229
1
1
3
37
50
-13
SEA
Mariota spent his Sunday afternoon dropping bombs all over Seattle—his average depth of target was 16.7 yards, a whole 4 yards deeper than anyone else. It was his short throws, however, where he was most effective. On passes to targets within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage, he went 9-of-11 for 122 yards with one touchdown and one interception. As a runner, he had five carries for 6 yards with one touchdown and one fumble.
19.
Jameis Winston NO
25/41
353
1
2
1
34
64
-30
CAR
Winston fumbled on both of his runs, one of which was also a 2-yard loss on third-and-4, which is why his rushing DYAR is so poor. He had the week's worst DYAR on throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage (5-of-8 for 34 with an interception), but tied Jalen Hurts for the best DYAR out of a no-huddle (5-of-6 for 98 yards).
20.
Mitchell Trubisky PIT
20/32
207
0
0
1
19
12
7
CLE
Trubisky did not throw a pass in the red zone. In Cleveland territory, he went 5-of-11 for 18 yards with more completions that lost yardage (two) than first downs (one).
21.
Justin Herbert LAC
25/45
297
1
1
1
15
11
5
JAX
Herbert finished as the week's worst passer from under center, going 3-of-8 for 25 yards with an interception.
22.
Kyler Murray ARI
37/58
314
0
0
2
15
18
-4
LAR
Murray led the league with a dozen failed completions. He was the week's best passer on throws to his left (20-of-25 for 198 yards), but the worst on throws to his right (12-of-26 for 77 yards).
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Mac Jones NE
22/32
321
0
3
3
-30
-34
4
BAL
Jones was the week's worst passer in the fourth quarter or overtime, when he went 7-of-11 for 79 yards with one sack and two interceptions.
24.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
18/29
211
1
1
4
-34
-23
-11
DEN
Everyone's focusing on the play Garoppolo made deep in his own territory, but all in all that's where he played his best. Eight of his nine first downs came within his own 40-yard line; in the other 60 yards of the field, he went 5-of-11 for 30 yards with one touchdown, one sack, and one interception.
25.
Matt Ryan IND
27/37
222
2
0
5
-36
-37
1
KC
Remember when we said Patrick Mahomes had the week's worst DYAR on throws down the middle? His counterpart, Matt Ryan, had the best, going 9-of-10 for 97 yards and a touchdown. In an unrelated note, his average depth of target was only 4.5 yards, the shortest in the league this week.
26.
Baker Mayfield CAR
12/25
170
1
0
3
-39
-39
0
NO
Remember when we said Jameis Winston had the week's worst DYAR on throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage? His counterpart, Baker Mayfield, had the best, going 6-of-7 for 96 yards and a touchdown. In a related note, his average completion gained a league-best 12.2 yards after the catch.
27.
Russell Wilson DEN
20/33
184
0
0
4
-47
-47
0
SF
Wilson was successful on 24% of his dropbacks, the worst rate for any quarterback this week. He did not throw a single pass in the red zone; in 49ers territory, he went 3-of-7 for 23 yards with a sack.
28.
Davis Mills HOU
20/32
245
1
2
1
-56
-56
0
CHI
Mills was the week's worst passer on throws to running backs, going 6-of-7 for 42 yards with an interception. He was also worst on throws to his left (6-of-12 for 35 yards, one touchdown, one interception) and out of a no-huddle (1-of-5 for 7 yards with an interception).
29.
Daniel Jones NYG
21/37
196
0
1
5
-67
-104
37
DAL
30.
Justin Fields CHI
8/17
106
0
2
5
-91
-92
1
HOU
Fields was virtually hopeless within his own 40-yard line, going 5-of-11 for 57 yards with three sacks and two interceptions. He did run six times for 47 yards, but also had a 1-yard loss and a fumble.
31.
Joe Flacco NYJ
28/52
285
0
2
4
-131
-131
0
CIN
Flacco had the week's worst DYAR on third/fourth down (8-of-18, 106 yards, six conversions, two interceptions, two sacks, two fumbles), in the red zone (0-for-3 with an interception, a sack, and a fumble), and on deep balls (4-of-15 for 79 yards and an interception).
32.
Carson Wentz WAS
25/43
211
0
0
9
-142
-145
4
PHI
Wentz had the week's worst DYAR in the first quarter (2-of-3 for 21 yards with four sacks), but made up for it with the week's worst DYAR in the second quarter (1-of-7 for 3 yards, two sacks, two fumbles). He did not convert a third down until the Commanders were down 24-0 in the third quarter.
Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Cordarrelle Patterson ATL
17
141
1
1/1
12
0
64
56
8
SEA
The Seahawks only stuffed Patterson one time while allowing him to run for five first downs, including a 17-yard touchdown, two gains of 18 yards, and a 40-yarder. His one reception was a 12-yard gain on second-and-5.
2.
Khalil Herbert CHI
20
157
2
2/2
12
0
61
61
0
HOU
There's a reason the Bears have two wins, and it's not Justin Fields. Herbert was stuffed twice against Houston while running for eight first downs, including a half-dozen gains of 10 yards or more, the longest a gain of 52.
3.
Rhamondre Stevenson NE
12
73
1
4/5
28
0
38
32
6
BAL
The Ravens stuffed Stevenson just once while letting him run for five first downs, including gains of 10, 16, and 18 yards.
4.
Saquon Barkley NYG
14
81
1
4/4
45
0
34
17
17
DAL
5.
Derrick Henry TEN
20
85
1
5/6
58
0
33
4
29
LV
Yes, I was surprised too, especially considering that Henry had five stuffs to go with five first downs. But four of those first downs gained 10 yards or more, including a gain of 24. And two of his receptions also gained first downs, on gains of 13 and 23 yards.
Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Khalil Herbert CHI
20
157
2
2/2
12
0
61
61
0
HOU
2.
Cordarrelle Patterson ATL
17
141
1
1/1
12
0
64
56
8
SEA
3.
Tony Pollard DAL
13
105
0
0/1
0
0
32
36
-4
NYG
4.
Rhamondre Stevenson NE
12
73
1
4/5
28
0
38
32
6
BAL
5.
Dalvin Cook MIN
17
96
1
0/0
0
0
30
30
0
DET
Cook was stuffed twice by the Lions and also lost a fumble. But he ran for seven first downs, with gains of 11, 12, and 13 yards.
Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Joe Mixon CIN
12
24
0
3/7
14
0
-40
-16
-24
NYJ
Mixon was stuffed for no gain or a loss four times against the Jets, running for a pair of first downs with a long gain of only 9 yards. His two receptions were a 7-yard gain on second-and-15 and a 2-yard gain on first-and-14.
Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Dameon Pierce HOU
20
80
1
2/2
21
0
-12
-27
15
CHI
Pierce ran for five first downs against the Bears, including a gain of 24 yards. But he was also stuffed four times, fumbling twice.
Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Mack Hollins LV
8
10
158
19.8
1
69
TEN
Six of Hollins' catches gained first downs, including a 20-yard gain on third-and-15, a 4-yard gain on fourth-and-1, a 60-yard gain on first-and-10, a 48-yard gain on fourth-and-15, and a 9-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal.
2.
DeVonta Smith PHI
8
12
169
21.1
1
65
WAS
Seven of Smith's catches gained first downs, including gains of 44 and 45 yards and a 2-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal.
3.
Tyler Boyd CIN
4
5
105
26.2
1
53
NYJ
All four of Boyd's catches gained at least 13 yards and a first down, the longest a 56-yard touchdown.
4.
Laviska Shenault CAR
2
2
90
45.0
1
47
NO
Shenault's two catches: a 67-yard touchdown and a 23-yard gain on third-and-14. Combined totals: 1 yard through the air, 89 yards after the catch.
5.
DeVante Parker NE
5
10
156
31.2
0
45
BAL
Though Parker only caught half his targets, those five receptions gained 24, 25, 31, 36, and 40 yards.
Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ja'Marr Chase CIN
6
10
29
4.8
1
-49
NYJ
Chase's DYAR totals include -9 rushing DYAR for his two carries, each of which lost a yard, one on first-and-10 and the other on fourth-and-1. His longest catch gained only 10 yards, he had only two first downs, and he fumbled after a 3-yard gain on first-and-10.

Comments

69 comments, Last at 28 Sep 2022, 4:53pm

#1 by HitchikersPie // Sep 27, 2022 - 3:59am

Excellent showing for some FO darlings, a lot of them lining up with pre-season projections, especially so for Lawrence who had probably the biggest coaching delta since Goff went from Jeff Fisher to Sean McVay...

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#3 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 8:07am

They were also both going year 1 to 2, though. I still feel like Alex Smith is the biggest pure coaching improvement.

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#2 by Will Allen // Sep 27, 2022 - 7:59am

Tommy Kramer was a good qb who had his career significantly shortened from A)getting pummeled behind an offensive line that was out of talent at the end of the Bud Grant era, as cheapskate ownership forced trades for purely $ reasons (as in when borderline HOFer Ed White was peddled to San Diego), and B) Kramer's monumental bottle habit. Coulda' been both factors were related. The USFL collapse brought HOF tackle Gary Zimmerman, and some good drafting helped by the mid 80s, but by then Kramer was really damaged. Jerry Burns, however, was a terrific OC, and in the talent-lean early 80s, he devised a get it out fast passing attack that papered over having a couple turnstiles trying to protect Kramer.

 

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#4 by Will Allen // Sep 27, 2022 - 8:18am

Oh, and The Kirkster (same personality, much less talent than his rival a few hundred miles directly east) better be in the top 5 pretty consistently, given what I've seen in the Vikings defense these past two games. Looks like Danielle Hunter's injuries, and, uh, ..perhaps changed nutritional supplement regimen (torn pecs always raise that suspicion), may have cost him his burst, and absent a superior pass rush, those dbs, in that scheme, are gonna be very, very, pedestrian, to be charitable. Doubt Ol' Cuz' is up to the challenge.

 

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#5 by Travis // Sep 27, 2022 - 9:29am

Doug Flutie, who began his NFL career as a teammate of McMahon's in Chicago, was a starter for the first time in 1988 in New England.

Flutie wasn't your ordinary first-time starter - he'd had a full year of USFL starting experience, plus spot starts in 1986 (including the playoffs) and 1987.  Either way, the 1988 Patriots splits with/without Flutie are amazing:

Flutie starting: (weeks 6-14): 179 passes, 375 runs; ended with an 11 pass/55 run game

Steve Grogan (weeks 1-4), Tom Ramsey (5), or Tony Eason (15-16) starting: 233 passes, 220 runs

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#6 by Will Allen // Sep 27, 2022 - 9:55am

If Ditka had been a better coach, the Bears may have had better success with Flutie.

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#8 by paytonrules // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:15am

Ditka took a shine to Flutie and the rest of the team considered him a teacher's pet. They preferred Mike Tomczak (when McMahon was injured) despite the fact that Tomczak was one of the worst QBs you'd ever see.

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#16 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 27, 2022 - 11:11am

Steve Fuller managed to go 0-2 for a 14-2 team. 

From 1984-1985, the Bears were 32-4. Steve Fuller was 4-3. Everyone else was 28-1.

\still better than Rusty Lisch

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#32 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:45pm

Poor guy. "Rusty Lisch" sounds like something unspeakable.

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#45 by Paul R // Sep 27, 2022 - 2:59pm

Should we mention Dick Butkus?

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#23 by JoelBarlow // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:00pm

local media heads tend to have the same view

Flutie was Ditka's choice and it killed the team

The mid-80s were really this odd period where the bears and 49ers should have been this amazing rivalry and they probably should have co-owned that period but their QBs kept getting injured, you have strike years (always a key to any Washington 1980s success) etc

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#39 by Vincent Verhei // Sep 27, 2022 - 2:12pm

Good points, and I appreciate your insight as well.

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#7 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:00am

It turns out that run-heavy offenses, like deep dish pizza and Italian beef, are a Chicago tradition—Fields is likely to be the fourth Bears quarterback on this table, should he survive the year.

It's shocking, I tell you. You're telling me that Chicago has had a history of taking the ball away from the QB at the first sign of trouble and being like "that's fine, we can win with defense and rushing"? And that history is continuing even though they brought in a new head coach and new GM (yet strangely kept like 2/3rds of their front office/scouting staff)? This can't be true!

Next you'll be telling me that Chicago has the lowest single-season pass attempt record of all franchises!

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#9 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:17am

They did interview HCs without that (any) GM too. 

The more things change...

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#15 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:42am

Yeah, and then when the new GM comes in, two finalist candidates are defensive coordinators and I cough have concerns cough about the legitimacy of the third.

But, of course, Poles has total control and absolutely isn't pandering to the bosses. Nope. No way.

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#17 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 27, 2022 - 11:15am

Next you'll be telling me that Chicago has the lowest single-season pass attempt record of all franchises!

That record probably belongs to the Evansville Crimson Giants.

\who was the only team to ever lose to the Louisville Brecks
\\In fact, the only team to let Louisville score.

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#19 by Travis // Sep 27, 2022 - 11:25am

The Evansville Crimson Giants played too many games to set a lowest-attempts record - 5 one season and 3 the next. The record probably belongs to the Muncie Flyers or the Tonawanda Kardex.

Points: 0

#20 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 11:29am

Active franchises.

Happy now? It's by 1 attempt, too, which is hilarious (thank you, Matt Hasselbeck). 

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#22 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 27, 2022 - 11:56am

It's probably not the Bears. Pass attempts were not reliably tracked in the early years, but the Cardinals have sucked hard for forever, lagged behind the Bears in adopting passing in early seasons, and tended to play fewer games per season than their much more popular neighbor.

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#27 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:26pm

I think we're talking about different concepts: what I'm saying is that the highest number of pass attempts by a single person, in a single season, for the Chicago Bears, is Jay Cutler, in 2014, when he attempted 561 passes.

Every other active franchise has a quarterback that's attempted 562 passes or more in a season (the Cardinals have 3 above that mark: Warner and Palmer twice).

Yes, it's partly a contrived stat, since Cutler missed a game that year (and that year wasn't even their franchise high, which was 2020), which is why it was a joke. I'm not actually sure which franchise has the lowest "most passes thrown in a season." I think it's either the Browns or Seahawks, but not sure. Cardinals aren't even close here, they've got a few years well above the 600 mark.

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#30 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:40pm

Yeah, of course. It's just a goofy stat. It's just one of many Pit of Passing Despair records the Bears hold. It's like when I point out that Mitch Trubisky holds one of the top 10 DYAR passing seasons in Bears History. Trubisky: Bears Passing Legend.

Kinda weird the Seahawks show up there, though. Really makes Pete Carroll's use of Russell Wilson stand out. Also hilarious that the QB with the most pass attempts for the Browns is (get this) Brian Sipe, in 1981. The Browns haven't had a QB break even 540 pass attempts in a season this century.

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#33 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:47pm

What's the Jets record? They've been horribly snake-bitten on the QB injury front. Hell, even Brett Favre got hurt when playing for them!

\The Krieg Seahawks threw the ball a ton.
\\Sometimes to their own team.

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#35 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 1:00pm

Nope, the Jets have Vinny Testaverde at 590. Also Fitzpatrick (at 562). And that year (2000) with Testaverde also had a bunch of other passes from backup QBs so they've got quite a bit that year (637).

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#36 by KnotMe // Sep 27, 2022 - 1:30pm

I imagine a record low number of passing attempts would be on good teams with a strong rushing attack and ball control style. (Basically, Marty Schottenheimer's dream team) as being behind usually makes you throw more. 

1990 Raiders had 336 attempts. Least I could find in a 16 game season. Jay Schroeder was the QB(with a  55% completion rate...so, makes sense) and they had Bo Jackson and HOFer Marcus Allen as RBs. 

They went 12-4 and were the #2 seed in the AFC.  Buffalo trampled them by  48 points in the conference championship. (51-3)

If you go by attempts per game in the SB era(1966+), you get the 1972 Bears with 14.64 throws per game. (The raiders above were 21 per game. Far and away the lowest in a 16 game season or in my lifetime). 

edit: 2022 bears are at 15 per game through 3 games....which shatter the record for a 16 game season by alot and would be second in the SB era. 

 

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#51 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 27, 2022 - 3:46pm

That AFCCG was the worst beating I ever saw a supposedly good team take, and I missed the first half!

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#50 by JonesJon // Sep 27, 2022 - 3:44pm

Trubisky is also the franchise leader in passer rating if you exclude the following 4 backups Josh McCown, Brian Hoyer, Mike Hohenesee, and Chase Daniel. 

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#52 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 3:51pm

And one of only 5 Bears Pro Bowl QBs, and the first since 1985!

It's just impossible to fully comprehend how much the Bears owners must hate passing. 

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#60 by KnotMe // Sep 27, 2022 - 5:05pm

I don't think it will, but I kinda hope it works out.  Chicago succeeding by bearing down would be funny.

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#62 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 7:09pm

The McCaskeys would become *unbearable*. All they need is a Hall of Fame returner and this is like their dream team.

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#10 by nat // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:21am

… how was the play?

[Mac] Jones was the week's worst passer in the fourth quarter or overtime, when he went 7-of-11 for 79 yards with one sack and two interceptions

I am curious.  How goes his DYAR stack up for the first three quarters?

Points: 0

#37 by nat // Sep 27, 2022 - 1:55pm

15 of 21, for 242 yards, 10 first downs, 1 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks for -12 yards, plus 3 runs for 8 yards and a TD. (Hoping to see the DYAR)

Just goes to show how catastrophic that fourth quarter was.

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#40 by Vincent Verhei // Sep 27, 2022 - 2:16pm

45 DYAR, 15th. 11.5 yards per pass is, YOWZA, but he was still boom-and-bust, with some failed completions and a success rate barely above 50%, plus the sacks and interception.

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#41 by KnotMe // Sep 27, 2022 - 2:20pm

The funny part was I had to look to figure out which we were talking about. 

Not hard keeping up with the Joneses this week. 

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#47 by nat // Sep 27, 2022 - 3:21pm

Oh, I believe you. An Int and two sacks on 23 non-scramble pass plays is pretty average or even below. I’d have thought that the high rate of first downs and yards per attempt would be closer to the top.

Thanks for looking that up.

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#12 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:25am

Genius. 

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#13 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:25am

So genius it had to be double posted.

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#18 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 27, 2022 - 11:17am

What's amazing was that Jones was clearly the best player the Giants had and anything that did work out worked out because he willed it to happen. He was running for his life the entire game and just sandlotting guys open for ridiculous completions.

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#25 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:09pm

I don't think some of it is sandlotting. It looked too much like Allen, who Jones had never really looked like before. I know they drill the "improv" stuff with the receivers like Daboll did in Buffalo.

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#54 by mansteel // Sep 27, 2022 - 3:59pm

I was perversely pleased that the country got to watch the full Daniel Jones experience last night. As in, run for your life almost immediately on most dropbacks, have the vast majority of your passes be right on the money despite heavy pressure...and on the 2-3 occasions where you have time to survey the field, never find anyone open and run for you life anyway. Not sure if that last bit is his fault, the receivers', or the design of the offense, but whatever--I've watched that game over and over the last three years. With the exception that the one terrible decision per game he makes didn't happen.

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#24 by Harris // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:05pm

The real lesson here is that watching the NFL in the 70s and 80s was a dire experience. I grew up in B1G country and firmly believed in 3 yards-and-a-cloud of dust. Now I can admit I was horribly mistaken and that passing is a lot more fun than 35 3.5-yard rushing attempts.

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#42 by Vincent Verhei // Sep 27, 2022 - 2:22pm

I was watching a 1970s Nebraska bowl game on YouTube a few months back and loving it. Not a lot of explosives, but just two teams trading 7-yard runs over and over again. I think that's my preferred flavor of football to watch -- consistent offensive success, but still needing to execute repeatedly to get to the end zone. Plus, a 7-yard run is more exciting than a 7-yard catch.

This comment is purely judging the sport on an entertainment value, not what's best at winning games.

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#44 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 27, 2022 - 2:51pm

I do sort of get a kick out of 1920s and 30s offenses with all the complex motion sets and the liberal downfield lateralling.

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#46 by Paul R // Sep 27, 2022 - 3:04pm

Plus, knee-pants, ankle socks, and black cleats are the most manly football uniforms. Much better than the spandex tights guys wear these days.

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#49 by Will Allen // Sep 27, 2022 - 3:30pm

I wouldn't want to go back, but the highest level NFL o-line running plays from the deadball 70s were a lot of fun that we don't see anymore. Lots of intricate trap blocking and other teamwork, from lines that stuck together for years. The flip side was the sub-elite line play was dreadfully boring.

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#57 by Vincent Verhei // Sep 27, 2022 - 4:11pm

Oh, I'm sure that's true. Again, this was Nebraska. I'm sure most other Big 8 schools of that time would have been much more of a slog.

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#26 by sharky19 // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:26pm

Seeing Mack Hollins have a game fir the ages while this team struggles to crack 20 points with the other pieces is especially cruel. This franchise is cursed 

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#34 by JSap // Sep 27, 2022 - 12:53pm

Who would have thought Jalen Hurts Rush DYAR would keep him out of the top spot?  

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#43 by Vincent Verhei // Sep 27, 2022 - 2:25pm

He was actually No. 1 going into Monday night, but the league-wide averages and baselines shifted a little after the Giants-Cowboys game and he fell behind Lawrence. But to your point, his seven carries picked up only 23 yards and 1 first down.

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#65 by JSap // Sep 28, 2022 - 11:24am

Yeah, watching the game it was pretty clear his runs were nowhere near their normal effectiveness, so I wasn't surprised to see the negative there.  Not sure if the Commanders were just really dedicated to stopping him, or just a small sample size, but hopefully (as an Eagles fan), opposing defenses will need to pick their poison and he can beat them either way.  Again, it's only 3 games in, so not getting too high yet, but starting to believe in this offense (in the first half, anyway!).

Points: 0

#66 by Pat // Sep 28, 2022 - 12:01pm

Not sure if the Commanders were just really dedicated to stopping him,

Yeah, pretty much. Any time you can see all 11 guys on the screen for first down frequently, safe bet the other team's worried about you running the ball. Plus they had what looked pretty clearly like a spy on several plays, which left either Brown or Smith one-on-one deep when one safety had to close hard to cover Goedert.

Of course even when they did leave both safeties deep and bracketed both Brown and Smith, Smith went and just... caught it anyway.

Points: 0

#53 by AnonyRuss // Sep 27, 2022 - 3:53pm

I may have missed it up there but I remember the Jim Kelly Super Bowl era Bills being a run and shoot system as well. Not to the Warren Moon Oilers but not far off. Where did they end up in the list?

Points: 0

#55 by Vincent Verhei // Sep 27, 2022 - 4:06pm

Those Bills used a lot of 3-WR formations for that era, especially considering they were usually winning, but I don't think they used a lot of the post-snap route adjustments that truly defined the run 'n' shoot. Regardless, the Super Bowl Bills from 1990 to 1993 were a slightly run-heavy team, with MoRPs of 1.24, 1.12, 1.21, and 1.27. Adjusting for the scoreboard, they had MoRPs over expected of 0.069, -0.009, 0.109, 0.168

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#61 by mehllageman56 // Sep 27, 2022 - 6:36pm

When you have Thurman Thomas, you need to use him.

If you have Ol' Joe Flacco, you need to use him, if you are a Jets coach.

Points: 0

#56 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 27, 2022 - 4:10pm

In light of the gutless give-up run proposed here recently, I did admire Dallas's run on 3rd-12 which was the perfect call against Martindale's blitz and totally caught NY with their pants down.

That would have been scored as a gutless give-up, but it absolutely was not. That was a vicious change-up that drew a strikeout. 

Points: 0

#58 by dmstorm22 // Sep 27, 2022 - 4:15pm

That was a genius play-call, that the Manning bros talked about really well.

The Cowboys knew/could see the overload blitz coming, knew they had enough WRs on that side to block and ran it. 

Maybe a lot of teams would've done it (or the Giants were particularly obvious with showing their blitz) but was a great little moment to isolate on - and why I would still watch the Manningcast over Buck/Aikman.

Points: 0

#64 by ChrisS // Sep 27, 2022 - 10:51pm

The Mannings are great. Some of there guests are good but Tracey Morgan last night was unwatchable. 

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#63 by Pat // Sep 27, 2022 - 7:16pm

Draws obviously do that as well. Bugs the hell out of me when people call those give-up plays.

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#67 by dank067 // Sep 28, 2022 - 4:01pm

Rodgers's poor DVOA throwing to RBs and TEs is probably one of those things where the inability to execute in one area shows up in a different category. Currently unable (and/or unwilling) to get the ball downfield to the WRs, he's checking it down to the RBs and TEs in very unfavorable situations and so it's those groups' efficiency that suffers.

Points: 0

#69 by Pat // Sep 28, 2022 - 4:53pm

This is a great observation. There should be a name for effects like this in football. Same reason why rushing efficiency looks so bad in comparison to passes (runs often happen when the pass look is wrong), and why dime appears to be so much better against passing (it's only used in obvious passing situations where teams don't care if deep shots fail).

Sane teams obviously take the "less bad" option when they can, so weird selection effects like this screw things up.

Points: 0

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