Chicago Bears Tarik Cohen Advanced Stats Review

Chicago Bears (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

What do the advanced stats say about the 2019 season for Tarik Cohen?

Looking into the advanced stats of David Montgomery, we are able to see that while it did not show in raw production, there were areas where he was an upgrade over Jordan Howard. Considering we uncovered some interesting things worth watching for Mitch Trubisky as well, it is time to dissect the 2019 season of Tarik Cohen in comparison to his 2018 version.

Cohen went from 99 rushes for 444 yards to 64 rushes for 213 yards. He went from 71 receptions for 725 yards to 79 receptions for 456 yards. What is the big difference?

Breakaway run rate

Tarik Cohen dropped from nine runs of 15 yards or more in 2018 to just one in 2019. The percent of touches he had that turned into breakaway runs of 15 yards or more went from 45% to 9%. He rated 55th in the NFL, behind Peyton Barber and DeAndre Washington.

Evaded Tackles

A lot of people are going to blame this on the offensive line, but Cohen has to be at fault as well. We noted in Montgomery’s profile that his evaded tackles showed that he was creating more yards than the stats showed. He was more elusive than Howard.

Cohen evaded 39 tackles in 2018, then evaded just 17 in 2019. His evaded tackle rate went from 23% to 12%. Some of the blame is on Cohen here.

Still, in the running game, a lot of this can be put on the offensive line. He averaged three yards before contact in 2018 and 2.1 in 2019 while he averaged 1.4 yards after contact in 2018 and 1.2 in 2019. He lost 0.9 yards before contact and lost 0.2 yards after contact on every attempt. He was worse overall, but the line was much more devastating.

Receiving usage issues

Tarik Cohen was targeted 104 times, but only 85 were deemed catchable. Still, that leaves Cohen with seven drops. To be fair, that is a better rate than names such as Aaron Jones, Kenyan Drake, Dalvin Cook, and Nyheim Hines. However, from his two drops in 2018, that is a bit of a step back.

He also went from averaging 7.3 yards after the catch per reception to 5.4 yards after the catch per reception.

The drops are an issue and the yards after the catch are shown in his drop off in evaded tackles.

However, the biggest issue was his overall usage. He was not being used down the field in the passing game nearly as often. In 2018 he averaged 3.6 air yards per target, but in 2019 that number went down to 1.7 air yards.

Some of this has to do with how many screens the Bears were using with Cohen, but they weren’t nearly as successful taking deep shots either. Trubisky was 8-14 targeting Cohen 10 yards or deeper down the field in 2018. He was 2-8 in that area in 2019. Nagy, Trubisky, and Cohen can all take some blame.

The Trey Burton Effect

The deep area was not nearly as efficient, but the biggest issue for Cohen could be tied to Trey Burton. Without Burton, or any semblance of a tight end on the offense, defenses keyed in on Cohen. This can be shown in his lower yards after the catch rate as well as lower yards before contact rate.

What drives the point home is his impact over the middle of the field. The deep area was taken away due to the added attention, but the biggest issue was over the middle of the field.

Cohen was targeted 49 times over the middle in 2019 resulting in 228 yards. In 2018, he had just 30 targets but put up 242 yards.

This is not a usage issue. However, when Cohen had the ball in the middle of the field in 2018, and the attention was on Burton, he was making defenders miss. With all eyes on him, they were letting him make catches and tackling him shortly after.

Take a look at a couple of Cohen’s receiving charts from 2018 compared to 2019.

In 2018 you can see he was creating over the middle of the field. In 2019, he was only catching screens and taken away over the middle of the field.

Now here is what you were seeing in 2019. In total, Cohen went from 2.26 yards per route run in  2018 to 1.26 in 2019.

There is a clear difference. The Bears did not have another threat over the middle, and defenses made sure to key in on Cohen in this area.


You cannot walk away from 2019 and think that Cohen was better in any area than in 2018. However, you can find a lot of context in the reasoning. The step back from Mitch Trubisky can be seen in his opportunity. The issues on the offensive line can be shown as well. Also, the loss of Trey Burton as another matchup identifier piece put Cohen in a position where all eyes were on him at all times. The play calling issues are shown as well.

Next. 10 closest comparisons to Mitch Trubisky through 3 years. dark

When you add this up, you can explain a decent chunk of the issues that revolved around Cohen. The biggest thing that Cohen will need is another player maker who takes attention away from defenders in the middle of the field. He is not an elite playmaker, but rather a game-changing complimentary piece.