Rick Gosselin, a long time NFL writer currently with the Talk of Fame Sports Network, has been a champion for the NFL’s third phase for almost 40 years. His annual special teams rankings have been providing a different statistical look at part of the game that has historically been ignored.
As Chicago Bears’ fans, we’ve been fortunate to have quality special teamers to root for through the years, so when the third phase is lacking, we definitely know it. The Bears ranked 27th in Gosselin’s ranking in both 2016 and 2017, and they weren’t much better in 2018 checking in at 26th overall.
A few of the categories were spotlighted with the Bears coming in dead last in kickoff return yardage (19.1 yards), but number two overall in punt returns (12.5 yards). The Bears were also dead last in kickoff starting point (23.4-yard line).
They were one of 16 teams that didn’t score any points on returns, and one of five teams that allowed a league worst 12 points on returns. Both of the Bears returns allowed came in the Patriots game with one on a kickoff return and the other on a blocked punt.
For those wondering, Patrick O’Donnell was tied for 10th in the NFL with 28 punts placed inside the 20 yard line and he was 17th with a 39.7 net average.
The Bears only allowed 150 punt return yards which ranked better than 25 other punting units.
In the field goal department, the Bears — Cody Parkey — made 76.7% of their kicks which was 27th in the league. They were 24th in extra point made (93.3%).
Anyone think there will be changes made to Chicago’s third phase in 2019?