Sorry for the break the last few weeks. I haven’t been able to watch games live due to various holiday scheduling hijinks. Darn that real life for getting in the way!
Before we get into today’s game specifically, reports are that John Fox will be fired today. I won’t miss you as Chicago’s head coach.
In general, this game looked very much like a disinterested team playing out the string on the road for a soon-to-be-fired coaching staff against a hungry opponent playing to lock up a first round bye.
Devin Hester officially announced his retirement this week, well after NFL teams had made it obvious that his career was over. My Twitter feed was instantly flooded with highlights and memories, and I hope you’ve taken a few moments in the last couple days to remember just how special Hester was. If not, here’s a quick refresher. Well, it’s not that quick, but that’s the point; Hester’s highlight reel is a long one.
Hester is without a doubt the greatest return man in NFL history. His 20 return touchdowns are the most ever. He had 3,786 punt return yards as a Bear, more than 1,000 more than the next highest returner, and his 14.3 yards per punt return led the NFL (minimum 50 attempts) by half a yard over that stretch.
But a common argument has been that Hester’s impact extended beyond his absurd return statistics because teams prioritized kicking away from him, giving the Bears better field position. Using the terrific Game Play Finder from Pro Football Reference, I attempted to see if that actually happened. Special thanks to the wonderful Andrew Link for helping me think through how to do this.
Around the League Tweets, Winner of 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Around the League Commentary in 140 Characters Spread Out Over 10 Installments!
1 of 10. Aldon Smith needs to find a rehab for being a fucking idiot.
2 of 10. Only 3 games on NFL schedule are easy to guess: week 17 match ups, CBS Thanksgiving game, opening night. Good luck w/ Rams contest.
3 of 10. How much you wanna bet the NFL exec who called Clowney lazy & spoiled works for the Rams? Or the teams with the third pick. Or fourth.
4 of 10. Did someone actually criticize the Jets for pulling out of Draft Day with Kevin Costner? Maybe they just read the script?
5 of 10. Would Donald Trump change the Buffalo Bills to the Trump National Bills at Buffalo? (He is poison, NFL. Pure poison. See: golf.)
If you follow DaBearsBlog on Twitter, you know that I’m going to win a billion dollars soon. So…I got that going for me. Which is nice. In the meantime I’ll continue living my life among the not-so-rich.
Enjoy the weekend, poor people.
I don’t really have a coherent column in my mind right so I decided to just lay out some Bears-related questions on my mind. Feel free to provide your own answers in the comments sections or by email: email@example.com.
Some guy named Pete who has been anointed over at PFF Tweeted the following:
Shea McClellin: 2nd-worst
@PFF grade of any 4-3 DE in Wk 9. But 2 loud sacks, so naturally NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
PFF attempts to qualify the performance of a player over the course of an entire game and thus weighs a run stop on 2nd and 3 in the first quarter equally to a run stop on 3rd and 1 with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. This is essentially what the baseball metrics folks do. They believe players play to their numbers.
But football is a situational sport. If your analytics tell you Shea McClellin played poorly Monday night, you have to acknowledge in the text of that piece the limitations of your analytics.
I responded via Twitter: