What the Bears can take away from wild-card weekend

What the Bears can take away from wild-card weekend
January 7, 2013, 1:30 am
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The Bears were not playing in the wild-card games this weekend but that should not exclude advancing some points of understanding:

Ten of the NFLs top 14 quarterbacks in completion percentage not yardage, not rating had their teams in the playoffs. That includes San Francisco, where Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith had a combined 66.3 percent, which would have been good for No. 4. In all four of wild-card games, the teams whose quarterback had the higher completion percentage in that game advanced (Joe Flacco, Baltimore; Matt Schaub, Houston; Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay; Russell Wilson, Seattle.)

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The specific on why that matters is because incompletions are totally wasted downs and teams that win do not have quarterbacks who net nothing from large numbers of snaps.

Jay Cutler was 21st at 58.8 percent. Why this projects as possibly significant is that GM Phil Emery has established living with Cutler for at least a year. But head coaching candidates include:

Tom Clements from Green Bay (Rodgers, 67 percent);

Rick Dennison from Houston (Schaub, 64 percent);

Mike McCoy from Denver (P. Manning, 69 percent);

Pete Carmichael from New Orleans (Drew Brees, 63 percent);

and Bruce Arians, who worked with Andrew Luck (54 percent) through a rookie learning season but whose most extensive work was in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger, who had only one year (59.9) below a 61-percent completion percentage.

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Cutler has not had a success rate higher than 60.5 as a Bear and was sub-59 percent the past two years. That is not what some of the better candidates are used to or will put up with

Thinking on the run

The Bears and some quarters of their public may want a radical change in approach to offense. Ummm, not so fast.

Six of the NFLs top rushing teams made it into the playoffs. They may not all have gotten off the bus running but they came off the bus making defenses think about their running. Three of the four teams advancing had 100-yard rushers, the fourth team being Green Bay, which is a special case but still ran 31 times vs. 36 pass plays.

The top two run teams (Washington, Minnesota) lost but Seattle (No. 3), San Francisco (4), New England (7) and Houston (8) are in the quarterfinals, as is Baltimore (No. 11).

The Bears were No. 10 in yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry, same as Houston and New England.