Though the Bears didn’t come away with the win against the Vikings, there was plenty to be encouraged about.
Namely, quarterback Justin Fields put together his best performance of the 2022 season. Mark Schofield on the main SB Nation page did a great job of breaking down the tape of Fields’ development over the last two weeks. For once, the Bears fielded a passing attack that looked like that of an NFL-caliber team.
Each week going forward, I’m going to take to the spreadsheets and data to see how the Bears fared in the previous game. I started the series off last week, so make sure to check it out if you haven’t already. I hope that this will be as informative of an exercise for you as it likely will be for me.
Let’s see what the numbers say about how the Bears played in Week 5.
Progress for Fields
After a slow start to the 2022 season, Justin Fields has picked things up in recent weeks.
Fields was quite efficient as a passer. Here is how he fared in significant passing analytic categories:
- 11th in points earned per play (0.196)
- 13th in points above average per play (0.036)
- 13th in EPA (1.21)
In all of these statistics, Fields was better than the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow. The second-year quarterback was also super efficient running the ball:
#Bears QB Justin Fields was the most efficient rusher in the NFL in Week 5, per SIS DataHub.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) October 12, 2022
He led the league in both points earned/run (0.869) and points above average/run (0.732). He was also above-average in PE per pass and PAA per pass. Significant progress.
David Montgomery Struggles in His Return
David Montgomery returned from injury in Week 5, and while he scored on an impressive 9-yard touchdown run, he only tallied 20 yards on 12 carries. That means that, on the remaining 11 carries, he averaged just a single yard per carry.
Given his lackluster stat line in the ground game, it makes sense that the analytics reflect that performance. Among the 61 players who had at least 5 carries, Montgomery placed 52nd in points earned per rush, 53rd in points above average per rush, and 51st in EPA per rush.
He did break 3 tackles on his 12 carries, which tied for 6th in the league in Week 5. That statistic indicates that Montgomery had to work hard for the measly yardage he was able to pick up. As I’ll elaborate shortly, part of this performance definitely falls on the Bears’ offensive line. Montgomery’s saving grace was his 4-catch, 62-yard performance in the passing game; he placed in the top 15 league-wide in points earned per route run, points above average per route and PAR (points above replacement).
Lucas Patrick Grades Surprisingly Well
In watching the Bears’ offensive line in Week 5, I wasn’t necessarily impressed with Lucas Patrick, let alone Chicago’s interior offensive line as a whole. That said, I was admittedly surprised to see that Sports Info Solutions had him rated as not just the best lineman on the team, but one of the best linemen in the league this past week.
Patrick led NFL offensive linemen in both points earned per snap (0.082) and points above average per snap (0.044) in Week 5. He also placed third among left guards in PAR at 2.3, trailing just Quenton Nelson and Justin Pugh. A lot of that was weighted due to his value in pass protection, as he was among the best offensive linemen in that regard this past week.
However, the Bears’ aforementioned run game struggles were also apparent in how poorly the offensive line graded out. Patrick was actually the NFL’s second-worst left guard against the run in terms of points earned (-0.37) and points above average (-1.13). Among the 200 eligible blockers — including starting offensive linemen and tight ends with enough reps — only one Bears player even made it out of the 100s, that player being Sam Mustipher at No. 94.
Teven Jenkins was in the bottom five among right guards as a run blocker, which is unusual for him this season. Larry Borom finished at No. 100 overall, while Braxton Jones was about average among left tackles but still placed No. 133 overall.