Bears-Cowboys Monday Night Football: Jay Cutler's Legit Gripe And the Chicago Paradox

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 01, 2012

Jay Cutler has been a lightning rod for much of his career, and especially in recent weeks, for voicing his frustration with his teammates and for otherwise displaying what's widely considered a failure of leadership.

All that may be true.

But the reality is that Cutler certainly has plenty to bitch about. Hell, it's a miracle he takes the field each Sunday after the weekly dose of electric shock therapy that passes for standing in the so-called "pocket" behind Chicago's terrible offensive line.

The Chicago Bears ended the 2011 season No. 25 on our Offensive Hog Index, one of the worst offensive lines in football, and dead last at protecting the passer.

The 2011 Bears suffered a Negative pass Play (sack or INT) on 13.22 percent of opponent dropbacks. Put another way, Bears QBs (Cutler played only 10 games before getting injured) were forced into a sack or INT more than once every eight times they dropped back to pass.

You'd think the 2012 Bears might have fixed the problem.

But they haven't. In fact, the offensive line is even worse here in 2012: No. 32 overall on the Offensive Hog Index and dead last again at protecting the passer.

Cutler has suffered a Negative Pass Play on an incredible 16.35 percent of dropbacks. That's one sack or INT for about every six dropbacks.

No wonder why he is pissed. Hell, he deserves more credit for manning up like a tough guy and taking the field for an organization that strings him out to dry week after week. 

Now, clearly, a QB plays a huge role in his own protection. But this has been a systemic problem in Chicago for years, even decades, no matter who's playing quarterback.

The irony in 2012 is profound: the Bears are No. 1 league-wide on the Defensive Hog Index. They are No. 1 pressuring the QB (15.75 Negative Pass Play%) and No. 1 in third-down defense (24.32%).

Imagine how bad it sucked for Cutler during training camp, or day in/day out at practice, when the league's best defensive front overwhelms the league's worst offensive line.

We bullet-point the Chicago paradox this week in our real and spectacular Bears-Cowboys Monday Night Football pick at CHFF Insider. Chicago is: 

  • No. 1 on the Defensive Hog Index, No. 32 on the Offensive Hog Index
  • No. 1 in Defensive Real QB Rating; No. 32 on Offensive Real QB Rating
  • No. 2 at pressuring the passer on defense; No. 32 at protecting the passer on offense.

The whole ugly truth about the Chicago paradox is easy to see in our CHFF Insider game chart. This is where we size up every opponent in every game side by side in 20 different Quality Stats.

It's like a tale of two teams for the Bears: a Super Bowl-caliber defense and an offense among the worst in the league in every imaginable indicator. Seems it's been that way for a long team for an organization that has simply been incapable of getting its offensive act together now for about a half century.

(BTW, this is just an image of the game chart; they don't just copy and paste properly. The actual charts are all hyperlinked to our stats so you can size up every team in every indicator.)

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