Having watched a great deal of Chicago Bears football over the years, I found myself wondering, in light of the Bills continuing offensive struggles; what was the offensive (pun intended) philosophy under Dick Jauron during his Head Coaching stay in the Windy City? Particularly, the Bears' 3rd down conversion percentage. While I couldn't find the 3rd down stats, and after reading the great post about what can, or might change for the Bills during the bye week, I altered my focus a bit. Had a look not at the losing seasons the Bears had under Jauron, but their 13-3 campaign of 01-02, and the home playoff loss to the Eagles. Almost eerie.
The Bears fielded a pretty decent defense, led by Ted Washington, Keith Traylor and Brian Urlacher up the middle. Twice in the first quarter they held Philly to field goals inside the red zone, and trailed only 13-7 at the half.
The Bears closed to within 14-13 early in the 3rd on a Jerry Azumah pick six off Donovan McNabb. Soldier Field is rocking!
The 4th quarter scoring opens with a Bears field goal to make it 20-17 Iggles. And then, guess what happens? Philly rips off 13 unanswered points in a row, and with a late game Bears safety, wins 33-19.
Here are the Chicago Bears stats on offense in the biggest game of Dick Jauron's Head Coaching career:
First downs: 10
Rushing yards: 23 for 111, 47 of which came on one carry, a touchdown tote by Ahmad Merritt in the first half.
Passing yards: 73
Total yards: 184
Chicago did lose the turnover margin 4-1 on three interceptions and a fumble. The Bears only attempted 22 passes and completed 11, and I can't tell from the stats how many were thrown for 5 yards of fewer. The longest completion, though, was 14 yards. The Eagles had 6 penalties for 60 yards, the Bears 1 for 5. From the Chicago Trib stories about the game I've read, the Bears apparently had a great week of practice, and played real hard, and are real good guys that will watch film and do better next week. Wait.....there wasn't a next week for the Bears.
Is there a pony in this pile of doo? Well, no. As a rose colored glasses guy, for two years I've hoped Jauron would at least shuffle his stripes, a la Tom Coughlin toning down his "fine you for being early" deameanor, or Don Shula adapting from his "Csonka/Kiick let Griese throw half a dozen times" to Marino flinging it all over the field strategy.
Good - not even great - coaches adapt. So, as much as I've longed to see it happen, and wish it would, considering that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it - nothing meaningful will change during the bye week, Bills fans, but at least, if the stars align - we won't have to experience such a agonizing offensive display in the playoffs as the Bears did.