News & Analysis

NFL Week 9 PFF ReFocused: Tennessee Titans 24, Chicago Bears 17

Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) throws as he is pressured on a play in which the Tennessee Titans were penalized for offsides during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Gw42727

You can make the case that no franchise has endured worse offensive play over the last couple of decades than the Chicago Bears. And Chicago’s offense had one of their worst outings of the PFF era against the Tennessee Titans in Week 9, subsequently leading to a 24-17 loss to Tennessee.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

STORY OF THE GAME

The first half of this game was where Chicago’s offensive deficiencies really shined. They didn’t commit a single turnover, yet they managed to generate -0.64 expected points added (EPA) per play in the first two quarters of action. Out of all of the first halves we've seen in 2020, that’s the worst EPA per play mark of the season when you take turnovers out of the equation. It’s also the worst first-half showing Chicago has ever had in the PFF era, dating back to 2006.

The turnovers came to life in the second half, first on a David Montgomery fumble that new Titan Desmond King II took to the house and then on an Anthony Miller fumble late in the fourth quarter.

While the playcalling was perhaps the biggest issue for Chicago early in the game, the offensive line was just as bad. Center Cody Whitehair was out due to COVID-19, left guard James Daniels has been out since mid-October — and will miss the rest of 2020 — with a torn pec, right tackle Bobby Massie was out with a knee injury and Jason Spriggs was also out with COVID-19. Needless to say, the Bears offensive line has been — and was even more so in Week 9 — a roller coaster.

With all the key players out, seventh-round rookie Arlington Hambright got the start at left guard and Alex Bars got the start at center, which was also his first time playing the position at the NFL level. Rashaad Coward was then kicked from left guard to right tackle. To no surprise, the unit played poorly. Despite Nick Foles getting the ball out relatively quickly, the Bears still allowed the fifth-worst pressure rate in the NFL at this point in Week 9. The unit also gave the run game 0.0 yards before contact, the second-worst mark of the week so far.

Titans’ wide receiver A.J. Brown was the top performer on offense for either team. The second-year receiver came away with three explosive receptions of 15-plus yards, a couple of broken tackles after the catch and a contested snag on a deep ball. It wasn't all perfect, though, as the star wideout also spilled two passes.

ROOKIE WATCH

Chicago landed a gem in Round 2 with cornerback Jaylon Johnson, and the rookie proved that again with his shutout performance. Johnson was one of few positives the Bears had in this one, as he didn't allow a single yard in coverage while forcing one incompletion across 25 coverage snaps. This brings his season forced incompletion rate to 22.4%, the fifth-best among all cornerbacks.

Arlington Hambright made his NFL debut this week, and it certainly could have gone better. Hambright had two quick, ugly losses in pass protection.

Tight end Cole Kmet, Chicago’s first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft in Round 2, didn’t see any targets in this one, possibly due to a groin injury that placed him on the injury report. He did log six pass-block snaps, though he managed to give up a sack and lose another rep on those. Fellow rookie Darnell Mooney did see the third-most targets behind Allen Robinson and Jimmy Graham but wasn’t that productive on a per-route basis, averaging just 1.05 yards per route run.

For the Titans, interior defensive lineman Teair Tart made his NFL debut and was the only rookie to play any meaningful snaps (20) against the Bears. And on those, the former UDFA had no production to speak of whatsoever.

ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats 2.0.

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