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Time of Possession Critical to Bears Success

You know what stat has been overlooked from Sunday’s loss to the Packers?  Time of possession.  The Green Bay Packers held the ball for 37:29 which equates to roughly fifteen more minutes than the Bears—one full quarter. If any NFL team has Super Bowl aspirations the time of possession differential needs to be in closer, or better yet in favor of the offense.

From an offensive standpoint, the Bears never showed any momentum from series to series.  Penalties backed up the Bears to third and long countless times throughout the game.  It didn’t help the Bears called only nine running plays out of 52 plays called.  The Bears had only one first down running the football.  Having an ineffective running game means the clock is not running, and the Bears defense does not get enough rest.  Out of the 171 offensive plays ran by the Bears this season, 64% have been passes allowing opposing defenses to pin their ears back while playing the percentages.  The Bears offense ranks 24th in offensive snaps, and they have only run the ball fifty-one times this season, averaging 3.2 yards per carry.  Matt Forte is ranked 24th in the NFL in rushing attempts.  For a guy many Bears fans pinned their hopes on, this is not good.  The Bears offense needs to control the line of scrimmage and the ball by increasing the number of running attempts per game.

The defense has been the stronghold of this organization for many years.  The key to many teams making the playoffs has been their defense.  But it is also the job of the offense to be able to control the football for chunks of time.  This is what the Bears have been missing.  Through three games, the Bears offense has been on the field for only an average of 26:32.  In comparison, the Detroit Lions fast 3-0 start can be attributed to their offense spending an average of 34:19 on the field.  The Bears’ defense has been in 3rd down situations 43 times allowing the opposing offense to convert only 40% of the time.  Having played two Super Bowl contending teams, the Bears’ defense has done an admirable job.  Have they been perfect?  No.  But they have done enough to give the team a chance to win in recent games.

If the Bears’ defense is going to hold up for the entire season, the offense needs to find a way to stay on the field.  Twenty-four rushing attempts in the last two games does not get the job done.  Four of those attempts were quarterback scrambles for positive yards—after a pass play was called.  Teams who have successful seasons are on the positive side of time of possession and ultimately in the playoff picture.   If the 2011 Bears have playoff aspirations, then the play calling needs to change.



  1. Dago T

    September 28, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Yeah, sure, time of possession, but they might also want to SCORE MORE POINTS THAN THEIR COMPETITORS!!!

  2. Tim Hiller

    September 28, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Yes, you do need to score more points than your opponent, but why not increase your chances by having your offense run more plays for opportunities to score. If you don’t have the ball on offense your ability to score points is less.

  3. bob

    September 29, 2011 at 2:55 am

    We blow it in the first half when we dont run the ball. Then we play from behind with no run game established and everyone knows we will be throwing so they tee off on Cutler or have Safeties looking for picks instead of thinking run support. Forte has popped off more than a couple 30 yrd runs this season already. Give him and Bell and Barber the ball. Run first, then the short pass, screen pass and long pass, and especially anything Play action opens up if you at least dedicate a little to the run. 13 rushes for shit yards in past two games is rediculous. Forte, Barber , Bell is great RB combo so its not lack of run ability, and any O-line would prefer to run block first especially one with two missing starters, but those starters are bruisers in the run game too so get it going already. Martz need to adapt to last years second half of the season. Play to our advantage, we are a decent run team, time of possesion duh!, keep people off Cutler hmm? maybe a good idea, make our Wr better cuz guess what everyone knows your throwing it, give defense a break instead 3 quick throws get back in there D. Lovie needs to be a head coach and tell Martz whats up. Also, just dont like Martz up in the box. Its like he is a child playing Madden. Get down on the field with the boys and get a feal for the game. We are and always have been a run first team. I’m so bothered by this. Forte is obviously our best offensive player, use the man!

  4. Tim Hiller

    September 29, 2011 at 9:33 am


    I like your idea of establishing a run game first along with short passes. I think first and foremost before we get Barber and Bell going, the Bears need to get Forte running forward. I agree with your view on the two injured lineman, Louis and Carimi. Louis is a guy who can get out on the edge pulling and Carimi is better than Omiyale.

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