Flashback to Thanksgiving when the Chicago Bears executed a 17-13 upset win over the Packers in Green Bay. The spirits were high then and many thought the team could make a playoff run with five winnable games left.
Just three games later the Bears were eliminated from the playoffs for the fifth-straight season following a loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
It seemed like everything went right for the Bears on Thanksgiving with both the offense and defense playing well. But now the Bears are playing poorly and one defensive stat is alarming.
During the team’s three-game losing streak, Chicago's defense has allowed opponents to convert 22-of-40 third down attempts. That’s good for 55 percent, which is 10 points higher than the league average (45.8) held by the Giants this season.
The Bears defense has allowed opponents to convert 45 percent of third down attempts on the season, good for 31st in the NFL. They’ve also gone back-to-back games in which they’ve allowed multiple third down conversions on an opposing team’s opening drive.
Other stats of note
- Linebacker Willie Young became the third player in franchise history to record a sack in five-straight games. Young joins Bears legends Brian Urlacher and Steve McMichael.
- The Bears allowed the highest passer rating in team history to Teddy Bridgewater on Sunday. The quarterback posted a 154.4 rating, including four touchdown passes. He beat John Brodie’s rating of 152.1 posted in 1965.
- John Fox becomes the ninth-straight Bears head coach to miss the playoffs in his first season with the team. Only George Halas, Luke Johnsos (co-coach) and Paddy Driscoll have accomplished the feat.
- Quarterback Jay Cutler has never finished a season with a TD:INT ratio of 2:1 or higher. He will enter Sunday’s game at 18 touchdowns and just 8 interceptions on the year.
- By committing a few more holding penalties, the Bears total moves up to 33 on the season. That currently leads the NFL.
- Running back Matt Forte eclipsed 1,000 yards from scrimmage in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss. That made him the 12th player to accomplish the feat in each of his first eight seasons.
- The Bears defense has allowed opposing teams to go a combined 8-for-8 in red zone opportunities during the three-game losing streak.
- Lovie Smith led the Bears to an 81-63 record during his tenure with the team, including a trip to the Super Bowl. In the three seasons since Smith, the Bears have an 18-28 record.
- The Bears failed to earn a Pro Bowl selection for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
- While the Bears lead the all-time series 37-18 against the Buccaneers, they haven’t won at Raymond James Stadium since 2005.
- The Buccaneers are in the Top 10 offensively for yards per play this season, while the Bears defense ranks 20th in yards per play against.