The Chicago Bears rank 26th in points and 30th in yards, so their spot among the worst offenses in football should be pretty well cemented. But what if I told you the Bears offense isn’t as bad as we think?
Well, allow me to let Pro Football Focus tell you that.
PFF’s Analysis Team ranked all 32 of the NFL’s offenses after seven weeks, and Chicago’s is surprisingly high on the list. Dowell Loggains’ offense ranks 16th, which puts it right in the middle of the pack … which is obviously much better than expected based on the stats and the eye test (and the preseason expectations, frankly).
In their own version of thunder-and-lightning, the backfield duo of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen have proven explosive and reliable for the Bears in 2017. Riding a simplified game plan with rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky over the past few weeks, the Bears have ground out victories in their last two contests, including a win in Week 7 with just seven pass attempts from Trubisky. Howard has forced multiple missed tackles on the ground in four of seven games this year, all but one of them a victory. Cohen on the other hand, has forced a league-leading 13 missed tackles off receptions this year proving his worth both in and out of the backfield, as well as on special teams this year.
The Bears’ rushing offense has been nothing short of spectacular. Jordan Howard is fifth in the NFL in rushing yards and has averaged 4.3 yards per carry since gaining seven yards on nine rush attempts in Week 2. Tarik Cohen has been a pleasant surprise as the fourth-round rookie owns PFF’s sixth best receiving grade among running backs. That tandem has aided the development of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who has thrown a grand total of 48 passes in three weeks as a starter.
It helps that left guard Josh Sitton (83.6) is the offense’s highest grade player. Further, Sitton and right guard Kyle Long have two of the 10 highest run-blocking grades according to PFF’s grading scale.
Now, imagine if they could throw the ball with any kind of effectiveness.
Kendall Wright is the Bears’ highest-graded receiver, ranking 40th among 117 qualifying players. The other four active receivers – Joshua Bellamy, Tre McBride III, Tanner Gentry, and Markus Wheaton – each have earned “poor” grades (below 60.0). Wheaton’s 40.3 grade is the lowest among the group and fourth worst among qualifiers.
Hopefully, new receiver Dontrelle Inman can recapture the magic that made him a reliable target for Philip Rivers in his breakout 2016 season. If that doesn’t happen, the Bears are likely to slide down this list – especially if their running game has any missteps.