Last season, the Chicago Bears had a legitimate offense.
The 2018 Coach of the Year, Matt Nagy, brought with him an offense that schemed players open, created mismatches and, more importantly, produced points.
General manager Ryan Pace also was able to surround Mitch Trubisky with a plethora of new playmakers: Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel, Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller.
Each new addition played an integral part in the Bears finishing 21st in passing yards, 11th in rushing yards and ninth in points per game. Those may not seem like the best stats, but the Bears made positive strides on offense last season, especially considering what the unit did or, more like, didn’t do in 2017.
In 2017, the Bears’ offense finished last in passing yards, 16th in rushing yards and 29th in points per game. Whether the majority of the blame should have been put on former offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains’ predictable play calling or on the “playmakers” for not getting open, it didn’t matter because the unit hardly did anything right.
Except there was one thing that was better two seasons ago than last season.
Despite all the dysfunction that was the Bears’ offense in 2017, that unit only turned the ball over 22 times (12 interceptions, 10 fumbles), which was tied for the 14th fewest in the league. The 2018 offense, however, turned the ball over 24 times (14 interceptions, 10 fumbles), which was tied for the eighth most.
Among the 12 teams that made the playoffs last season, the Bears were ranked dead last with the Colts with the most turnovers (24). And according to Football Outsiders, the Bears were ranked 23rd in turnovers per drive, with only the Colts (25th) being worse of the playoff teams.
On the reverse side, the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots were fourth in the league in turnovers per drive according to Football Outsiders, which was the best of the four teams that made the conference championship games.
Since 2010, teams that have been ranked in the top half of the league in turnovers per drive have represented a majority of the playoff participants, and the Denver Broncos were the only team to have won a Super Bowl who wasn’t ranked in the top half of the league.
Playoff Teams Ranked in Top Half of League in TO/Dr
*According to Football Outsiders*
2018: 8 of 12 teams — SB winner Patriots (No. 4)
2017: 10 of 12 teams — SB winner Eagles (No. 11)
2016: 9 of 12 teams — SB winner Patriots (No. 1)
2015: 9 of 12 teams — SB winner Broncos (No. 28)
2014: 9 of 12 teams — SB winner Patriots (No. 3)
2013: 10 of 12 teams — SB winner Seahawks (No. 5)
2012: 8 of 12 teams — SB winner Ravens (No. 3)
2011: 10 of 12 teams — SB winner Giants (No. 14)
2010: 9 of 12 teams — SB winner Packers (No. 10)
It isn’t easy making the playoffs, and there is no guarantee a team that makes it one season will be there the next. For instance, the 2018 season featured seven new teams. Clearly, there are a lot of factors as to why that happens, but limiting turnovers would be a great way to help a team become more consistent in reaching the postseason.
Just ask the Patriots. They are the only team to be in each of the last nine postseasons and have been ranked in the top five in eight of nine of those seasons in turnovers per drive.
Obviously, the Bears are going to want to improve in all facets of the game on offense next season. Doing so would give Chicago a better chance to succeed and to make a deeper run in the playoffs.
Still, each area will take time to improve and it definitely could take more than a season for Nagy to get the offense where he would like.
A good place to start, would be to reduce the turnovers in 2019.