Monday Night Football Week 9: Bears at Chargers

Nov 09, 2015 by Scott Ross

The Chicago Bears are 2-5, with both their wins coming on scoring plays in the final 20 seconds of the game, which is another way of saying this is a team potentially just two plays away from being winless. However, they’ve also lost their last two games on a field goal in OT and another with 4 seconds on the clock, which is another way of saying they’re just two plays away from potentially being 4-3. But the fact remains they’ve scored the fifth-fewest points, and gained fourth-fewest in yards-per-play, they do all sorts of things poorly, but none terribly well, except, maybe, take care of the ball, as they’ve only committed 8 turnovers.

Bears QB Jay Cutler has his supporters, including Phil Simms and Jon Gruden, but 10 months after a 1-game benching, he’s in the bottom third of almost every passing category, with the exception of interceptions and sacks, which can go a long way toward keeping things from going completely pear-shaped. Still, Cutler is at best an average passer in a passing league, and his offense has been further crippled by an injury to the Bears’ leading rusher, Matt Forte, who is questionable with a torn MCL. Forte has accounted for 71% of the Bears’ ground game, but the bulk of his workload may go to untested rookie Jeremy Langford, who’s thus far rushed for 80 yards on 27 carries.

It would be easy to think the Bears play good pass defense, as they’ve allowed the second-fewest completions and the fourth-fewest passing yards per game. But they’ve also allowed the fourth-most passing TDs, the highest TD%, the sixth-fewest sacks, and the fifth-highest rating, 103, in the league. And they’ll be going up against the San Diego Chargers' Philip Rivers, a five-time Pro Bowl QB who is on pace to set personal bests for completions, attempts, completion percentage, yards, and TDs… Who needs a running game? But the Chargers have just enough between rookie Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead to keep their offense atop the league in yards and first downs. However, Rivers will be without his favorite target, Keenan Allen, who is out for the remainder of the season after taking a hit to the kidneys while making a spectacular catch in the end zone last week.

And yet, the Chargers are just 2-6. How does this happen? Well, the Chargers’ D is a sieve. They’ve surrendered the third-most points in the NFL, the second-most yards per play, and forced the third-fewest turnovers. Against the pass, they’re fair-to-middlin’, but against the run they are helpless, giving up a league-worst 5 yards a rush. No one is more relieved about the injury to Forte’s knee than the Chargers’ D-line.

All stats courtesy Pro-Football-Reference and ESPN.

Watch the Chicago Bears vs. the San Diego Chargers at 8:30pm ET Monday on ESPN.

Back to What's On