Save for his 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Adam Shaheen, quarterback Mike Glennon was mostly a non-factor in the Chicago Bears’ 23-17 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Glennon completed 15 of 22 passes for 101 yards, threw for one touchdown and one interception, and finished with a 74.2 quarterback rating. Check-down passes were fired early and often by Glennon, who targeted running backs on 13 passes, tight ends four times, and wide receivers four times (none until the second half).
Running back Jordan Howard led the team with five targets, five catches, and 26 receiving yards. That’s a lot of work for the player responsible for two rushing scores, including the game-winner in overtime.
Add up contributions from Tarik Cohen (four catches, 24 yards) and Benny Cunningham (three catches, 23 yards) and the Bears’ top three running backs combined for 12 receptions and 73 yards. Bears wide receivers were targeted just four times, and the only one who caught a pass was Deonte Thompson, whose 9-yard reception came with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
To drive home how conservative Glennon was when putting the ball in the air, it’s worth noting that 81.8 percent of his throws traveled in the air 10 yards or less – including six that were behind the line of scrimmage. Glennon completed 14 of 15 passes that traveled fewer than 10 yards in the air and gained 84 yards. If you were to punch those numbers into the quarterback rating calculator, it would spit out an 84.4 rating.
Here is an updated look at Glennon’s numbers through three games:
- 615 yards
- 5.7 yards per attempt
- 3 touchdowns
- 3 interceptions
- 7 sacks
- 79.8 rating
For the second straight week, Glennon didn’t do much to quiet the calls for rookie Mitch Trubisky to start. Sure, the Bears picked up a big win and Glennon did throw a touchdown pass. But the quarterback did the absolute minimum to not lose the game, which was apparent in the Bears’ play calling and Glennon’s constant check-downs. If the Bears’ gameplan to work around Glennon’s deficiencies seems familiar, it’s awfully similar to what the Denver Broncos were running when Tim Tebow was under center. But the Bears are doing it with a statue in the backfield.
To be fair, this type of game planning doesn’t look like one that will last long in a league that adapts and adjusts quickly.
If Glennon doesn’t make the adjustments in front of him, the Bears’ offensive ceiling is lower than what you’d expect from a backfield with a Pro Bowl running back (Howard) and a rookie (Cohen) averaging 6.5 yards per carry through three weeks.