Are you there, Ditka? Its me, Bill, the trainer. We need a favor...
Do you know who the NFL leader in rushing yards is (its not a guy who recently signed a bigtime contract extension, by the way)? Or which team has given up the most passing yards in the league after two weeks (here's lookin' at you, cheeseheads)? Let's dive into the NFL stats after two weeks to see what we may learn from them, what's unlucky to hold true, and where our beloved Bears rank. Jump if you support reformed fat kids.
We all know stats don't tell the entire story - you need a combination of observation and statistical analysis to properly judge something (except for our O-line, we know it sucks). And after two weeks, and spending way too much trolling through the NFL stats looking for an edge for my fantasy football teams, I figured I'd convert my time-waster into a proper post. So, below I've included some statistical information from the first two weeks that you may find interesting, shocking, or disheartening (or just say "meh" to). For each category I've included the Bears team ranking, if applicable, or the highest ranked Bear in that category.
NFL Rushing Leaders - Fred Jackson (229 yards), Darren McFadden (222), and Ben Tate (219) are your top three, and if you think that's going to last, I have some naming rights to stars that I can sell you. Forte is 17th with 117 yards, just behind Vick, but don't blame him; his 4.5 ypc average is solid (17th overall as well), he just hasn't gotten the carries.
Quarterbacks - This is the old school, 1+1=pi one, not the ESPN-Dilfer one. Cutler's ranked 21st with an 84.1, and while the top three aren't surprising (Brady, Rodgers, Brees), number four is Matt "If Healthy" Stafford. Stafford's tied with Brady and Ryan "You like apples?" Fitzpatrick for the touchdown lead with seven; Cutler has three, about average, and is 13th in the league in yards with 556. With only one INT, Cutler only has three QBs that regularly start throw less interceptions than him (Rodgers, Bradford, Brees). The one category we lead in: sacks, of course, with eleven. They frankly are more of a testament (or is it symptom?) of our offensive
sieve line then our quarterback. T-Jax is the only other QB to be sacked in the double digits so far.
Receiving Yards - The top seven includes usual suspects you'd like to have on your fantasy team, while number eight is Jason Witten, and number nine is... whoa, Matt Forte (15/207/1)! Even crazier, he's tied for seventh in targets with 20 (Hester's next at 14), and is fourth in YAC with 80 (wonder why? maybe had a big play, perhaps?)
Special teams - I was never in love with Danieal Manning as a player (more of a friend thing), but we could use his kick return skills as he ranks fourth on kickoff return average with 41.0 per return (huge caveat - he's only returned three so far, hence why stats can be deceiving). Hester ranks 24th with a 20 yard average on kickoffs, and doesn't even qualify for top-30 status on punts with only two returns for ten yards. But, like we all know with Hester, it only takes one. And while Podlesh seemed okay during the preseason, maybe not a huge upgrade over Maynard, he's been worth it through two weeks statistically. His 45.6 yards per punt is only 16th in the league (and about five yards better than Maynard) but his net, in part thanks to Toub's men, is 44.8, good for fourth in the league.
Defense - To answer the question above, yes, the Packers have allowed the most passing yards in the league at exactly 800! Also surprising, the next two teams giving up the most passing yards are defensive stalwarts New England and Miami. The Bears rank 22nd in passing yards allowed, 20th in rushing yards allowed, and 23rd in total yards allowed. Yards allowed is never really a concern with the old bend, don't break philosophy of our defense, but the concerning thing is the 5.3 ypc average we're allowing on the ground.
Turnovers & Third Down - We rank 24th in offensive third down conversions (28%), which is troublesome. Our defense is around the middle at 17th, allowing 40%, allow some of the that is attributable to Mr. Brees (and hopefully gets better once Mr. Rodgers comes to town). As far as turnovers go, we're fourth overall at +2, and if you think saying "Lions in first" is weird, they actually have the best turnover margin after two weeks. The Lions, lucky? Getouttahere!
All the stats were picked off of the ESPN website (link pops), so feel free to go through and see what (if any) extra insight can be cobbled together from these crazy rows of numbers.