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What Sad Bears Offensive Numbers Mean

Analysis: Is Matt Nagy's future directly tied to an offense ranked bottom three in most statistical categories?

The Bears organization brought Matt Nagy in as a head coach and did so mainly because of his offensive expertise. 

In Nagy's fourth year, the Bears are 30th in scoring and last (32nd) in total yards and passing yards. It's not the kind of combination expected from a coach associated with offensive success.  

While they were bad under Nagy in 2019 and 2020 with Mitchell Trubisky as quarterback, they never finished below 29th in either scoring, passing yards or total yards.  

So this doesn't bode well for Nagy. 

The one really bad indicator for Nagy and the offense is the fact they are bottom three league-wide in passing, scoring and offensive yards together. In the last decade this has happened nine times to teams, and seven times a coaching regime change followed.

But teams have to be careful with this. One of the times they didn't change was Buffalo in 2018 and they've gone on now to become a Super Bowl contender.

Considering it's now his fourth season in Chicago and Nagy has yet to restore at least an average offense doesn't help, either. 

However, based on the last decade in the NFL it hardly means he's finished simply because his team's offense is currently mired.

NFL ownerships are pretty lenient when it comes to statistical disaster. 

In the case of the Bears, their offensive stats are diminished by two factors. The first is a rookie quarterback who is starting before they expected, combined with what is perceived to be a stronger defense. 

They now want to play to the defensive strength to win as many games as possible so they keep the offense operating at minimal risk level as Justin Fields learns.

When the Bears had a game plan with plenty of risk, they got the Great Cleveland Fiasco of 2021. 

It is that one game which is the other factor squashing the Bears statistically. When you're gaining 47 net yards, it's like taking a full week's vacation in the stat chase while everyone else in the league is working.

Regardless of all this, the most damning statistic for NFL coaches is scoring. The Bears are not ranked last in scoring. 

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However, they are 30th and in the last decade, 40% (12 of 30) of the teams that finished in the bottom three in scoring had new coaches the next season.

Just 20% of the coaches who finish in the bottom three in overall yardage (6 of 30) were not back with their team the next year. Only seven of the 30 finishing bottom three in passing yards were fired or resigned.

What is apparent in all of this is it's still a bottom-line league. 

Of the 25 coaches fired in the last decade after their team finished bottom three in any of those offensive categories—passing, yardage or scoring—none had winning records. 

30th or Worse Scoring, Yardage, Passing

2011-2021

Team, YearScoring RankYardage RankPassing Yards RankCoachRecord, result

2021 BEARS

30th

32nd

32nd

Matt Nagy

3-3, -

2021 Jets

32nd

31st

30th

Robert Saleh

1-4, -

2020 Jets

32nd

32nd

31st

Adam Gase

2-14, fired

2019 Redskins

32nd

31st

32nd

Jay Gruden

0-5, fired in-season

2018 Cardinals

32nd

32nd

32nd

Steve Wilks

3-13, fired

2018 Bills

30th

31st

30th

Sean McDermott

6-10, retained

2017 Colts

30th

30th

31st

Chuck Pagano

4-12, fired

2016 Rams

32nd

32nd

31st

Jeff Fisher

4-9, fired in-season

2014 Jaguars

32nd

31st

31st

Gus Bradley

3-13, retained

2013 Buccaneers

30th

32nd

32nd

Greg Schiano

4-12, fired

2011 Rams

30th

32nd

31st

Steve Spagnuolo

2-14, fired

The only one who failed to return after a .500 record was Jim Harbaugh, and he resigned to go to Michigan.

Where this all leads is to the fact Nagy's fate for the future most likely will be decided over the next 11 games and by wins and losses rather than statistical anomalies.

It's definitely not an easy path ahead for the Bears if they're going to acquire enough wins.

The only teams among their remaining 11 games who are below .500 are the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

No one thinks of the 49ers as a losing franchise even if coach Kyle Shanahan has only one winning season to his credit among his first four and is 2-3 this year. Beyond that, by the time the Bears play Seattle Russell Wilson will be back on the field. This elevates the Seahawks to a playoff-quality opponent.

It's going to require continued offensive improvement from the Bears and Fields over the next 11 weeks to keep their defense from collapsing, a situation sure to send them into the kind of spiral that did lead to the firing of many of those 25 coaches whose teams ranked bottom three in scoring, points and passing.

It's all about winning and it's easy for owners to buy time for a coaching staff they believe in if their win total doesn't dip too far regardless of how it's happening.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven