Monday, December 17, 2018

Chicago Rates Better than Green Bay at Soldier Field

By Eric Goska
Aaron Rodgers compiled a passer rating of 68.9 in Chicago Sunday.
Mitchell Trubisky was 51.5 points better at 120.4.
(screen shot from NFL Game Pass)
Passing superiority has been as close to a superpower as the Packers have possessed against the Bears in recent years.

Sunday, Chicago donned the cape and demonstrated that they, too, can excel in this phase of the game.

The Bears bypassed Green Bay 24-17 at Soldier Field by employing a steady and efficient passing attack. In the process, Chicago clinched the NFC North Division title and ended the Packers’ string of eight straight victories in the Windy City.

The numbers for Chicago when traveling by air weren’t record-setting by any means. If Mitch Trubisky, the team’s second-year quarterback, is the second coming of Drew Brees, he’s not there yet.

But Trubisky calmly and confidently got the job done. He completed 20 of 28 passes (71.4 percent), with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

His counterpart, Aaron Rodgers, had arguably his worst outing of the season. No. 12 failed to connect on a touchdown pass for the first time this season and he misfired badly when going deep.

His most glaring mistake was throwing an interception in the Bears’ end zone with his team down by 10 points late in the fourth quarter. The ball was deflected, but had Rodgers not thrown behind his intended target, tight end Jimmy Graham, the play may have yielded six desperately-needed points.

Statistically, the two quarterbacks were worlds apart. Trubisky compiled a rating of 120.4; Rodgers clocked in at 68.9.

That 51.5 difference is the largest the Bears have owned against the Packers in a regular-season game since Rodgers became a starter in 2008. It is also an advantage with which Green Bay has had some familiarity.

We’ll let the experts determine why the numbers for these two quarterbacks ended up where they did. No doubt, many factors came into play.

Instead, we’ll focus on how unusual this ratings differential was. It’s not every day that a quarterback clad in navy blue and burnt orange outshines his peer outfitted in green and gold to such an extent.

Prior to Sunday, Green Bay had won 17 of the last 21 regular-season meetings between these teams. Included in that stretch were six season sweeps.

In 13 of those victories, the Green and Gold produced a passer rating that was at least 30 points higher than that of Chicago. Seven times they were better by 50 or more.

In a league dominated by quarterback play, the Packers usually had the better quarterback.

Only three times in the previous 21 encounters did the Bears compile the higher rating. Their greatest advantage had been 32.9 points, that in a game in which Rodgers exited early after breaking his collarbone on a sack by defensive end Shea McClellin.

On that day—Nov. 4, 2013—Chicago’s Josh McCown (90.7) outperformed Seneca Wallace (53.4) in a battle of backups. Rodgers' one completion of 27 yards raised Green Bay’s rating to 57.8 in the team’s 27-20 loss.

The Packers and Bears having been teeing off against each other now for nearly 100 years. If there is a magical number for passer rating differential in this series, 50 might be it.

Chicago has tipped the scales in its favor to that extent 20 times. Its record in those games is 19-0-1.

That one tie took place 75 years ago. On Sept. 26, 1943, Sid Luckman and Bob Snyder outdueled Tony Canadeo, Irv Comp, Lou Brock and Andy Uram in a season-opening, 21-21 deadlock.

Green Bay has finished ahead by 50 or more on 29 occasions. Its record in those games is 28-1.

That lone loss occurred on Nov. 3, 1968 in a game in which Bart Starr earned a passer rating of 102.5, but a game in which the Bears ran for 291 yards. Mac Percival’s free kick from 43 yards out with 26 seconds remaining downed the Packers, 13-10.

Getting outpointed has been somewhat of a rarity for Green Bay these past 10 years. Getting outpointed by 50 or more has been almost unheard of.

If the Packers hope to rebound in 2019, they’ll need better play from their quarterback. Their defense would do well to limit the effectiveness of the opposing signal caller as well.

Difference Makers
Since 2008, the four games in which the Bears posted a higher passer rating than the Packers.

      Diff.     Bears        GB         Date                   Result
   +51.44    120.39      68.95       Dec. 16, 2018     Bears won, 24-17
   +32.86      90.70      57.84       Nov. 4, 2013      Bears won, 27-20
   +28.44      90.79      62.35       Nov. 26, 2015    Bears won, 17-13
   +18.62    103.82      85.20       Dec. 29, 2013     Bears lost, 28-33

The 10 Bears passers who earned a rating of 100 or more against the Packers in a regular-season game (minimum 20 attempts)

Rate    Player                  A-C-Yds- TD-HI    Date                       Result
158.3   Vince Evans           22-18-316-3-0      Dec. 7, 1980          Bears won, 61-7
123.5   Cade McNown      20-11-203-2-0      Oct. 1, 2000          Bears lost, 24-27
121.9   Jack Concannon     34-21-338-4-1      Dec. 13, 1970        Bears won, 35-17
120.4   Mitch Trubisky       28-20-235-2-0      Dec. 16, 2018        Bears won, 24-17
113.5   Rudy Bukich           20-13-195-1-0      Oct. 3, 1965          Bears lost, 14-23
109.7   Jim Harbaugh         23-16-194-1-0      Oct. 25, 1992        Bears won, 30-10
105.3   Bob Williams          22-12-145-2-0      Sept. 28, 1952       Bears won, 24-14
103.8   Jay Cutler               24-15-226-2-1      Dec. 29, 2013        Bears lost, 28-33
101.5   Bill Wade               30-17-236-3-1      Nov. 12, 1961       Bears lost, 28-31
100.3   Jim Harbaugh         25-16-209-2-1      Dec. 8, 1991          Bears won, 27-13

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