We have officially reached the midway point of the 2016 NFL season, with just 8 weeks remaining until the playoffs.
For the Chicago Bears, it’s a chance to prove they are better than what their 2-6 record shows. They enter Week 10 coming off their bye but the last time we saw them on the field, the Bears put together their best performance of the season.
The offense was led by rookie running back Jordan Howard, who ran wild on Monday Night Football.
Howard racked up 202 total yards of offense for the Bears, including 153 yards on the ground and one touchdown. Despite the Bears having Howard, Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey all active, it was the rookie that got the most touches.
Howard was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
He became the first Bears rookie since Gale Sayers in 1965 to eclipse 200-plus yards of offense in a single game. He broke the franchise record for being the youngest player in franchise history to accomplish the feat as well.
It gets better.
After his explosive Week 8 performance, Howard is now tied with Ezekiel Elliot with the most forced missed tackles among rookies, per Pro Football Focus (PFF). Elliot also has 78 more carries than Howard this season.
With Howard running like this, in addition to quarterback Jay Cutler back and the offensive line getting healthy, expect the Bears offense to look much better in the second half of the season.
Other stats of note:
- Howard had a 69-yard rush on Chicago's first offensive drive of the Week 8 contest, which led to points. It was the longest rush by a Bears running back since Khalil Bell’s 72-yard rush against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009.
- In the past 10 seasons, the Bears are 7-3 coming out of the bye week, but the team has lost two in a row coming out of the bye. During head-coaching stints with the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and Bears, John Fox is 10-4 after the bye week.
- With roughing the passer being a heavy topic in the NFL this season, Pro Football Talk reports that Jay Cutler has been the victim of the most missed calls of that type over the last 3 seasons.
- The Bears last road win came against Tampa Bay in Week 16 of the 2015 season.
- Punter Patrick O’Donnell ranks first in the league with 19 fair catches forced this season.
- The Buccaneers are allowing 6.02 yards per play in the NFL this season. That is ranked last in the league.
- Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans leads the NFL with 8 touchdowns. He scored two against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 9.
- According to PFF, 7 of Alshon Jeffery’s 9 targets in Week 8 went for 10-plus yards. He finished the game with 4 receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown.
- Chicago’s 2 penalties against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8 were a season-low for the team. They entered the week averaging 8 per game and had at least 10 in their previous 3 games.
- Right tackle Bobby Massie has improved as the season has progressed. In Week 8, facing one of the league's best defenses, he allowed just one QB hurry.