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Data Drop: Bears analytical takeaways from Week 12

What do the numbers say about how the Bears performed in Week 12 against the Jets?

Chicago Bears v New York Jets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Bears lost to the Jets 31-10 last Sunday. It was ugly, and a lot of key players were either injured before the game or got hurt during the game. You know the drill by now.

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 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 12.

Passing attack struggles

Justin Fields missed Sunday’s matchup against the Jets, prompting veteran backup Trevor Siemian to enter the starting lineup.

Here’s where Siemian ranked in key passing analytics among 32 starters in Week 12:

  • -0.026 points earned per play (29th)
  • -4.46 points above average (27th)
  • -7.78 EPA (26th)
  • 62.5% on target (32nd)

Siemian struggled through the air and failed to maintain the momentum of a solid first quarter over the course of the afternoon. One could make the argument that advanced analytics haven’t been extremely kind to Fields through the air, either, but his value as a runner has aided Chicago’s offense to the point of competency. Nobody is ever going to mistake Siemian for Fields as a runner, but the lack of the dual-threat potential hurt the Bears on offense, even with their adjustments in their scheme.

Granted, Siemian didn’t get much help from his targets in the passing game. Of the 6 targets to qualify, none of them placed any higher than a tie for 130th in points earned per route, and none of them placed in the top 130 in points above average per route. Equanimeous St. Brown was the Bears’ best wide receiver from an analytical perspective, but that admittedly isn’t saying much when he graded below-average in essentially every category. That said, Byron Pringle had a high EPA per target at 1.01, but the likes of Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet and Dante Pettis were all inefficient through the air on Sunday.

Offensive line does its job

Despite a poor offensive output in terms of points, the Bears’ offensive line certainly did its job well against a talented New York defensive line.

Here’s where their blockers ranked at their respective positions in terms of points earned per snap in Week 12:

  • Cole Kmet: 1st for TE
  • Cody Whitehair: 1st for LG
  • Teven Jenkins: 1st for RG
  • Sam Mustipher: T-3rd for C
  • Larry Borom: 15th for RT
  • Braxton Jones: T-17th for LT

Both Kmet and Jenkins were listed in the SIS DataHub as not having any blown assignments on Sunday. Chicago’s offensive line had some ups and downs at the two tackle positions, but when Borom and Jones were on, they were very effective. Jones was the only Bears player to tally a holding penalty, while nobody on the offensive line tallied a false start all afternoon. All told, it was a pretty clean game from the big uglies up front.

Depleted secondary predictably performs poorly

The Bears entered their matchup against the Jets without Jaquan Brisker or Kyler Gordon, and they left the game with Eddie Jackson having succumbed to injury, as well. Needless to say, their secondary struggled against New York’s passing attack, even with the uncertainty the Jets have had at quarterback.

Veteran safety DeAndre Houston-Carson performed well, tallying 9 tackles and a quarterback hit. He placed 11th among all safeties with 0.093 points saved per play in coverage, as well as 11th at his position in points above average per play in coverage. On 4 passes thrown his way, he allowed just 2 completions for 11 yards and a 56.3 passer rating against him.

The rest of the Bears’ secondary wasn’t so lucky, however. Kindle Vildor and Elijah Hicks allowed passer ratings of 156.3 and 158.3 when balls were thrown their way, respectively. Jaylon Jones also allowed a passer rating of 118.8, which tied him for the 15th-worst total among 92 cornerbacks. Jaylon Johnson placed 48th among the 92 cornerbacks with an allowed passer rating of 91.7, breaking up a pass while allowing 3 receptions on 4 targets for 26 yards.

Johnson’s performance was pretty middle-of-the-road in terms of starters at his position, and it was still the second-best outing a Bears defensive back had on Sunday. Vildor also had a pass deflection against the Jets, but he also allowed 3 receptions on 4 targets for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns. Garrett Wilson shredded Chicago’s secondary last week, and Vildor was a prominent recipient of said shredding.