After watching Aaron Rodgers tear through the Chicago Bears secondary in front of a nationally televised audience on Thursday Night Football, it appears as though things are turning a corner.
PFF’s Sam Monson ranks the NFL’s 32 teams by man coverage percentage, and the Bears check in at 31.9 percent (18th in NFL). However, the team is making the most of its chances when placed in man defense situations, as only 38.7 percent of passes thrown by opposing quarterbacks into man coverage have been completed, which grades out as the 17th best in the league.
And things are getting better.
In the team’s Week 6 win against the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago allowed no offensive touchdowns, limited quarterback Joe Flacco to a 48.8 passer rating on his 41 pass attempts, and limited his top target to fewer than 45 receiving yards. It was a well-rounded defensive effort that started with pressure up front courtesy of the defensive line and backed up by strong secondary play. Three Bears defensive backs – Kyle Fuller, Adrian Amos, Bryce Callahan – were among the five highest-graded players by Pro Football Focus after Sunday’s win.
It shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle that the Bears defense has done quite the number on opposing passers when playing in man-to-man coverage. Between the return of cornerback Prince Amukamara and re-emergence (and resurgence) of safety Adrian Amos, the secondary looks much improved from a year ago. And, of course, this group will need to keep up the fine work when Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers come to town.
The Panthers are 3-0 on the road this year, and Newton has posted a 122.9 passer rating and has completed 71.3 percent of his passes, while throwing eight touchdowns and just two interceptions.