All statistics and snap counts are taken directly from the NFL's Game Statistic and Information System.
With the Chicago Bears losing to the Denver Broncos by a narrow 17-15 score, they fall to 4-6 on the season, and their already slim playoff chances took a hit. On the positive side, this was an AFC loss, so the door isn't completely closed. Yet.
The Bears will need a win on Thursday night against the rival Green Bay Packers if they have any realistic hopes of getting back into the playoff hunt.
There's no such thing as a moral victory in sports -- a loss is a loss -- but there were some positives to glean from the game.
Yes the Bears lost, their 3rd loss in their last 5 games, but those three losses came by a combined 8 points. Being able to hang in there is a sign of a well coached team. Another good sign, the Bears were only penalized once against the Broncos, but it was declined so it never happened! Denver was flagged 8 times for 118 yards.
Unfortunately, times penalized is the only team stat the Bears held an advantage. Denver had more total yards 389 to 347, more first downs 21 to 19, they had a better 3rd down conversion percentage 43% (6-14) to 33% (4-12), they won the time of possession battle 33:13 to 26:47 and Denver didn't turn it over while the Bears had 2.
The key to the game in my opinion was Chicago's inability to slow down Denver's running attack. The Bears allowed a season high 170 yards on the ground (4.9 ypc) to a team that was averaging 86 rushing yards per game. The good running game aided Bronco QB Brock Osweiler who was able to get in a rhythm with the bootlegs and play actions. Osweiler ended the day completing 20 out of 27 passes for 250 yards, 2 TDs and a 127.1 passer rating.
I don't want to end the team stats section of this article on a sour note, so check out this nugget;
Broncos entered today giving up 2.6 20+ passing plays a game, tied for best in the league. The Bears had 6 passing plays go for 20 or more.— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) November 22, 2015
Keep in mind this explosiveness came with Matt Forte, Eddie Royal and Alshon Jeffery in street clothes.
|Matt Slauson LG||63 - 100%||3 - 12%|
|Hroniss Grasu C||63 - 100%|
|Kyle Long RT||63 - 100%||3 - 12%|
|Charles Leno Jr. LT||63 - 100%||3 - 12%|
|Patrick Omameh RG||63 - 100%||3 - 12%|
|Jermon Bushrod||3 - 12%|
|Vladimir Ducasse||3 - 12%
The Bears had rookie center Grasu back in the starting lineup, so that moved Slauson back to left guard and it moved Ducasse to the bench. Even though the Bears can expect some growing pains from Grasu, this is probably best for the Bears starting Slauson (LG), Grasu (C) and Omameh (RG) on the interior.
Chicago running backs struggled to find anywhere to run on the afternoon, averaging a sad 2.6 yards per carry
The Bears gave up 2 sacks to the Bronco pass rush and Denver was credited with 5 quarterback hits and 2 tackles for loss.
Jay Cutler was 18 of 32 (56.3%) for 265 yards, with no TDs and 1 interception, for a 70.4 passer rating. The NFL changed his 2nd interception to a fumble, so Cutler still had 2 turnovers. Cutler also had 3 scrambles for 29 yards.
But back to the interception, Cutler took the hit on the throw, "I probably need to put it a little bit higher. The linebacker undercut it. He made a good play but I can give him a better ball though."
Cutler and the offense has had some good moments this season, but they are clearly hurting with the injuries to the skill positions.
When asked about the offense missing three important cogs, Cutler said "Yeah, we're missing some guys but that's nothing new. We've had guys in and out of the lineup all year long. I thought JB (Joshua Bellamy) and Q (Marquess Wilson) stepped in there and had a heck of day for us. We tried to use the tight ends a little bit more. When we get them back, it'll be great."
Baring a set back this week, I would expect at least Forte and Jeffery to return for Thursday in Green Bay.
|Jeremy Langford||50 - 79%|
|Ka'Deem Carey||13 - 21%||2 - 8%|
|Antone Smith||10 - 40%
After looking like a future Pro Bowler the last two weeks, Langford came back down to earth a bit. But keep in mind the Bears were facing a top ranked Bronco defense. Those guys are pretty good. Langford ended up with 13 carries for 25 yards (1.9 ypc) and a rushing TD, and he caught 3 of the 6 balls thrown his way for 17 yards.
Carey left the game with an apparent concussion, but before he left he went for 32 yards on 9 carries (3.6 ypc).
Defensive tackle Mitch Unrein lined up as a fullback for 1 play.
|Martelus Bennett||63 - 100%|
|Zach Miller||53 - 84%||10 - 40%|
|Khari Lee||8 - 13%||11 - 44%|
Bennett only brought down 2 of the 6 balls thrown his way for 26 yards, but he drew three pass interference penalties. Zach Miller caught 3 of 6 balls for 47 yards.
|Marquess Wilson||55 - 87%|
|Josh Bellamy||43 - 68%||17 - 68%|
|Marc Mariani||10 - 16%||8 - 32%|
|Cameron Meredith||19 - 30%|
Wilson led the Bears in receiving with 4 catches for 102 yards (a career high). He was targeted 7 times and on the season Wilson is up to 46 targets, 24 receptions and 420 yards.
Bellamy started opposite Wilson and he caught 4 of the 5 passes thrown his way for 57 yards (a career high). Mariani and Meredith both caught the one pass intended for them, with Mariani's going for 10 yards and Meredith's going for 6.
|LaRoy Reynolds||5 - 20%|
|Sherrick McManis||20 - 80%|
|Lamin Barrow||17 - 68%|
|Harold Jones-Quartey||7 - 28%|
|Robbie Gould||8 - 32%|
|Deonte Thompson||3 - 12%|
|Thomas Gafford||7 - 28%|
|Patrick O'Donnell||7 - 28%
Gould made all three of his field goals and the kick coverage gave up just 15 yards per attempt on 3 returns.
O'Donnell didn't have his best day with a 34.3 punting average. He did put 2 inside the 20 and Denver didn't gain any punt return yards.
Mariani lost his KO return job, but he successfully fielded all 5 punts he attempted to catch. He had 4 fair catches and 1 return for 4 yards. Deonte Thompson handled the kick return duties and he had 2 for 54 yards.
McManis had 2 ST tackles, Jones-Quartey had 1 as did Reynolds.
|Kyle Fuller CB||69 - 100%||8 - 32%|
|Adrian Amos S||69 - 100%||10 - 40%|
|Tracy Porter CB||64 - 93%||1 - 4%|
|Chris Prosinski S||66 - 96%||15 - 60%|
|Bryce Callahan CB||24 - 35%||6 - 24%|
|Sherrod Martin S||1 - 1%||15 - 60%|
|Alan Ball CB||8 - 12%||6 - 24%
With safety Antrel Rolle ruled inactive, the Bears went with Prosinski starting in his place and he ended up with 6 tackles, his first career sack and a QBH. He also had a missed tackle early in the game that led to a Demaryius Thomas TD. The other starting safety, rookie Adrian Amos, also picked up the first sack of his career while adding 7 tackles, a QBH and a tackle for loss.
Fuller had 7 tackles and a pass defense and Porter had 1 tackle. Callahan was again the starting nickleback and he had a tackle for a loss. When Callahan left with an injury, it was Alan Ball that came in to play outside with Porter moving to nickle.
|Shea McClellin ILB||69 - 100%||5 - 20%|
|Jonathan Anderson ILB||24 - 35%||10 - 40%|
|Christian Jones ILB||42 - 61%||10 - 40%|
|Pernell McPhee OLB||38 - 55%||1 - 4%|
|Sam Acho OLB||46 - 67%||11 - 44%|
|Willie Young OLB||41 - 59%||4 - 16%|
|Lamarr Houston OLB||14 - 20%|
Jones led the team in tackles with 8 and McClellin had 6 with a QBH. Anderson again came in at the inside linebacker position on nickle D and he added 3 tackles.
McPhee returned to the action after missing a week, but he seemed to be laboring with his sore knee. He finished with only one tackle. The other starting OLB, Sam Acho, had 5 tackles.
Young had 4 tackles, a sack, a TFL and a QBH. Houston had 2 tackles.
|Jarvis Jenkins||52 - 75%||1 - 4%|
|Eddie Goldman||40 - 58%||5 - 20%|
|Will Sutton||45 - 65%||5 - 20%|
|Bruce Gaston||20 - 29%|
|Mitch Unrein||27 - 39%||12 - 48%
Reserve defensive lineman Bruce Gaston, who is on his 5th team since being an undrafted free agent of the Cardinals last year, looks like a player with some potential. He picked up his first sack of his career, to go along with a TFL and QBH and position leading 4 tackles.
The other back up d-lineman, Mitch Unrein, had 3 tackles.
Starting nose tackle Goldman picked up a 2 tackles, a sack, a QBH and a TFL. Jenkins had 2 tackles and Sutton had a tackle.
What are your thoughts on the stats and playing time breakdown this week?