Upon further review, Bears’ defense is better than what some stats say
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org November 16, 2011 12:05PM
NET POINTS ALLOWED
Here are the top 10 teams in net points allowed after Week 10 (defensive points in parentheses):
1. Ravens -- 10.7 (28)
2. Lions -- 14.0 (28)
3. 49ers -- 14.1 (9)
4. Bengals -- 14.8 (23)
5. Texans -- 15.5 (7)
6. Bears -- 15.8 (30)
7. Steelers -- 16.1 (11)
8. Jets -- 16.4 (18)
9. Cowboys -- 17.2 (7)
10. Packers -- 17.6 (21)
10. Titans -- 17.6 (7)
Updated: November 16, 2011 12:13PM
After allowing 393 yards against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, the Bears dropped to 25th in the NFL in total defense (376 yards allowed per game). But by outscoring the Lions’ offense 14-13 on interception-return touchdowns by Major Wright and Charles Tillman, they have moved up to sixth in net points allowed (15.8).
Excluding touchdowns allowed by the offense on an interception return (the Falcons’ Kory Biermann), a fumble return (the Eagles’ Brian Rolle) and a safety against the Buccaneers, the Bears’ defense has allowed 172 points this season. But they’ve also scored 30 points with three interception returns for a touchdown (D.J. Moore, Major Wright and Charles Tillman), one fumble return for a touchdown (Brian Urlacher) and a safety (Stephen Paea). That gives them a net of 142 points allowed, 15.8 points per game.
And furthermore, it’s worth noting that the Bears have played four of their nine games against teams that rank in the top four in the NFL in scoring -- the Packers (first, 35.6), Saints (second, 31.3) and Lions (fourth, 28.0) twice.
The Bears, in fact, have played six games against teams in the top half of the league in scoring and have held all six below their average. In all, the Bears have played teams that are scoring a combined 230 points a game this season, and have held those teams to 187.
That’s statistically significant, but whether it has actual merit on the playing field is up for debate. If it does, it bodes well for the Bears, because four of their next five opponents currently are in the bottom half of the league in scoring: the Raiders (17th, 23.1), Chiefs (27th, 15.7), Broncos (20th, 20.9) and Seahawks (26th, 16.0). This week’s opponent, the Chargers, are 13th in scoring (24.0 points per game).