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Bears worst in NFL at pass protection

BUCKING A TREND?

The Bears rank last in the NFL in pass protection, according to the New York Life Protection Index created by STATS. With a victory Monday and a Packers loss Sunday, the Bears would make the playoffs despite that statistic.

55%

The percentage of teams that has made the playoffs in the last four seasons with above-average protection, according to the index.

20%

The percentage of teams that has made the playoffs in the last four seasons with below-average protection, according to the index.

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



The Bears have the worst pass protection in the league, according to a new statistical index unveiled Tuesday.

Created by Northbrook-based STATS, the New York Life Protection Index measures a team’s aptitude in pass protection by using a formula that includes the length of a team’s pass attempts combined with penalties by offensive linemen, sacks allowed and quarterback hurries and knockdowns.

The index has been a strong indicator of NFL success, which doesn’t bode well for the Bears. The top five teams in the index are in first or second place in their respective divisions. The Indianapolis Colts are No. 1 with an index rating of 90.6 out of 100. The Bears are last at 29.6.

In the last four seasons, teams that finished among the top 12 in the protection index have made the playoffs 63 percent of the time (30-for-48), averaging 10.3 victories. During that same time span, teams with an above-average protection index (54-60, depending on the season) have made the playoffs 55 percent of the time (35-for-64), while teams with a below-average protection index have made the playoffs only 20 percent of the time (13-for-64).

And of the eight teams that have made the Super Bowl in the last four seasons, only the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers finished outside the top 12. Both the Super Bowl teams last season, the Colts and New Orleans Saints, finished among the top three.

The Bears obviously are hoping to be an exception to that trend.

The best single-game performance this season was by the Colts against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 5.

The worst? The Bears’ 21-3 loss to the New York Giants on Oct. 3. In that game, the Bears scored a minus-54.5, surrendering 10 sacks.



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