Parental warning! Don't let kids watch 'Boys, Bears

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 14, 2010



By Luis DeLoureiro
Cold, Hard Football Facts Father of the Year
 
Big stats and limited scoring output took center stage Sunday with two marquee NFL franchises defined by infuriating inefficiency.
  • The Cowboys amassed 380 yards of offense and scored just once in a humiliating 13-7 loss to the Redskins.
  • The Bears totaled 463 yards of offense but struggled to manufacture points in a controverial 19-14 win over the Lions.
These performances by the Dallas and Chicago offenses were so frustrating and ugly that we're banning children and immigrants from watching these teams, for fear that it will ruin them for the sport played by real American football teams.
 
The two clubs combined for nearly a half mile of offense (or 0.77 kilometers for our immigrant readers) and scored a paltry 26 points. Not to pile on, but perhaps the Cowboys thought that points were awarded for penalties, stupid decisions and passing random drug tests. Perhaps the Bears thought points were awarded for wilting in the face of the worst pass defense in modern history.
 
For some perspective, consider that the Patriots and Titans each scored 38 points Sunday in easy wins, and neither of them reached the 380 yards of offense compiled by the Cowboys.
 
How does this happen? How does one team race up and down the field with little to show for it. More importantly, why do the same teams, like Dallas and Chicago, seem to struggle to turn yards into points week after week?
 
The reasons are found in the Cold, Hard Football Facts
Last week we dug into the Scoreability Index to explain why the 2009 Cowboys put up big yards but small points. Even before Sunday's Vaudeville audition by Dallas, we pointed out that the 2009 Cowboys were not the sum of their parts.
 
The 2009 Cowboys were one of the best offenses in football at generating yards (6,390), but a very average team at scoring points (361). As a result, Dallas finished a pathetic No. 25 in our 2009 Scoreability Index.
 
We might have also looked at the Bears last week, too. But we did not, simply because we have the attention span of sheetrock. In the days before internet porn, we may have been able to squeeze in the Bears last week. But that's not the world we live in now. Deal with it. Our kids do.
 
More importantly, the Bears might have studied our Scoreability Index before trading away their No. 1 quarterback before the 2009 season.
 
In 2008, Chicago, with Kyle Orton at quarterback, fielded the most efficient offense in football: No. 1 on our Scoreability Index. The 2008 Broncos, meanwhile, with Jay Cutler at quarterback, finished No. 28 in Scoreability.
 
So that did the Bears do? Without studyding our Scoreability Index, they foolishly shipped Orton and a pile of draft picks to Denver for the sexier Cutler. The result was predictable to those of us armed with the Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Bears tumbled all the way from No. 1 in Scoreability in 2008 to No. 15 in Scoreability in 2009 with Cutler at quarterback.
 
We don't know how the 2010 season will play out. But we can look at the individual games in Week 1, highlight the predictable statistical trends and identify the reasons why both the Cowboys and Bears failed to score points at the level that their offensive outputs would suggest.
 
First, the Cowboys
The Cold, Hard Football Facts crew, at least those allowed by law to reproduce, pretty much let our kids do whatever they want.
  • Sugar snacks? Help yourself.
  • Cross the street without looking? Knock yourself out.
  • Run with scissors? Just don't run in front of the TV Sunday afternoon.
But watch the Cowboys? After Sunday night's fiasco? That's a month without Nintendo DS in our cozy cardboard box home.
 
The Cowboys on Sunday night were to football what Rex Ryan is to the South Beach diet. If an immigrant from a third-world hellhole ruled by Sharia law, like Afghanistan or England, moved to the U.S. and heard how much we love football, and then watched the Cowboys on Sunday night, he would immediately move back to his homeland.
 
The Cowboys moved the ball well from goal line to goal line. But, Dallas's inability to finish was reminiscent of  our  15-year-old escapades at the friendly, neighborhood brothel. 
 
The Cowboys had five possessions in the first half:
 
A 37-yard drive that reached the Washington 36 – before they punted the ball away. Who knew that this punt would be their highlight of the evening?
 
A 56-yard drive that reached the Washington 6 – before a Dez Bryant pass interference call moved the ball back to the 16. Then David Buehler (Buehler?  Buehler?) missed a chip shot field goal.
 
A 7-yard three and out. By Dallas standards, any drive where the offense doesn't humiliate itself is a positive development.
 
A 62-yard drive that reached the Washington 37 and ended with a daring ... punt. The Cowboys actually reached the 34 yard line. But Tony Romo took a delay of game penalty – despite having two timeouts remaining – that put them out of decent field goal range. HOW ABOUT THEM COWBOYS?!?!?      
 
A final "drive" of the half that began at the Dallas 30 and ended when the team ran the play that made us institute the "no Cowboys game policy" in our homes. The play began as an intended Hail Mary for a Dallas team trailing 3-0 and looking for a spark. It ended with Washington's DeAngelo Hall racing 32 yards with a fumble for what proved the game-winning touchdown. It's something that should never be spoken of again.
 
The worst was yet to come.
 
On the last play of the game, Romo threw a game-tying touchdown pass to Roy Williams. But tackle Alex Barron got called for holding for the third time in 31 minutes – nullifying the touchdown. 
 
Thank God, by that point, the kiddies had already been banned from watching.
 
The CHFF Scoreability Index suggests that an average team scores one point for every 15 to 16 yards of offensive output. The best Scoreability team last year, the Saints, required 12.7 Yards Per Point Scored. The worst, the Rams, required 25.5 Yards Per Point Scored.
 
These numbers mean that if the Cowboys were merely average in efficiency against Washington, they would have scored about 25 points and easily won the game. 
 
If they were as bad as the 1-15 Rams of 2009, they would have scored 15 – and still won the game!
 
But Dallas scored just seven points. Seven. They scored one point for every 54 yards of offense. As a result, they lost in ugly fashion to a Washington team that everybody thought they should beat.
 
Now, da Bears
Chicago beat Detroit in Week 1, 19-14, but not without doing everything in its power to blow the game (which it nearly did). Here is a chart of all 14 Chicago's drives (minus the game-ending kneel downs) on Sunday.
 
Chicago drives vs. Detroit (Week 1, 2010)

Drive Start

 Drive End

Yards

Result

Own 34

Det 2

64

Field Goal

Own 39

Chi 44

5

Interception

Own 25

Det 12

63

Fumble

Own 43

Det 37

20

Punt

Own 31

Det 27

42

Fumble

Own 21

Det 0

79

Touchdown

Own 37

Det 13

24

Field Goal

Own 36

Det 41

23

Punt

Own 38

Det 38

24

Punt

Own 27

Chi 39

12

Fumble

Own 9

Det 42

49

Punt

Det 1

Det 1

0

Turnover on Downs

Det 41

Det 38

3

Punt

Own 44

Det 0

56

Touchdown

 
The Bears drove into Detroit territory on 12 of 14 drives. That's pretty impressive. But then it all fell apart.
  • Three drives ended with fumbles inside the Detroit 40.
  • Four drives ended with scores.
  • Fives drives ended with punts inside Detroit territory.
The five punts inside Detroit territory were the defining statistical and situational moment of the game, and perhaps in Chicago's season. Three of those punts came on 4th and 5 or less. By punting over and over inside Detroit territory, often in convertible situations, the Bears showed the lack of intestinal fortitude that often defines gutless teams afraid of their own shadow.
 
Basically, the Bears decided to play a conservative game of field position against a terrible Detroit team that:
To put it another way, the Bears almost lost a game at home because they were afraid of the lousy Lions.
 
We urge you to step away from your computer and ponder that last sentence. The Bears were afraid of a team that has won two games in the last two years.
 
From a personnel perspective, the Bears shipped a pile of draft picks to the Broncos for big-armed Jay Cutler last year ... so that they could punt five times .... in enemy territory ... against a team that's 2-30 over the last two years ... and that can't play defense.
 
Chicago's performance was one of the most gutless efforts we've seen in years. Perhaps Chicago management should have studied our Scoreability Index before they sold out the future for habitually inefficient Cutler, who threw 26 picks last year, among the most in modern history, sparking a huge decline in efficiency for the Bears offense.
 
Or maybe Chicago's brain strust did study our Scoreability Index after last season, after it was too late, and decided the best strategy Sunday was to take the ball out of his hands in key situations.

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