Chicago Bears run game must improve in this key area

Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Fans have been calling for the Chicago Bears to run the ball more for a while. It appears as though Matt Nagy surrendering play calls has led to more success on the ground. Over the past two weeks, the Bears led the NFL in rushing rate, which is a stark contrast from last season when they were bottom 10 in running the football. Beyond that, their success rate is up over 2%, and their yards per carry are up over 0.2 as well.

The group has improved but still is not an elite rush attack. They have had ups and downs along the way and have plenty of room to improve. According to PFF, the Bears have the 18th rated run block group; according to FootballOutsiders, they rank 13th, and according to RBSDM, they are 11th in EPA and 15th in success rate. They are certainly not bad, but 11-18 in all rankings show that they are certainly middle of the pack.

One of the most important areas to improve is their power success rate. The power success rate is defined as

"Percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown. It also includes runs on first-and-goal or second-and-goal from the two-yard line or closer."

When the Chicago Bears pack things tight, and you know they need to churn out that yard, they fail more than most teams. With that in mind, the Bears rank 29th in power success. Considering the run blocking has been above average in almost every other category, if they could grind out an extra first down or two by converting 3rd and short, they could start to pound teams with their ground game.

It would extend drives, give the lineman more life, and force teams to stack things tighter, opening up passing lanes.

Chicago Bears must improve power blocking against Green Bay Packers

Sunday will be an excellent test to show us just how good this run-blocking group is. On the one hand, the Packers rank 27th in adjusted line yards, 22nd in EPA, and 26th in success rate. They are a poor run defense.

Considering the Bears have played teams that rank 4th, 5th, 12th, 15th, and 22nd, as run defenses, the Packers are indeed the worst, even below Detroit at 22.

However, while the Packers’ run defense is poor, it appears their only strength is power success. They rank 13th in run defense on 3rd and 4th and short, so they can hold up when teams pack it in. However, they typically play more spread on other downs and let teams run on them to avoid the big pass.

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With this in mind, the Bears will run on the Packers; the question becomes how often and how successful will it be? If they can pick up the power plays that move the sticks, it will be a long day for the Packers’ defense. Their power success should determine the outcome of this game. If the Packers stick to holding up strong on short-yardage plays and the Chicago Bears fail to convert when it matters, the run will only be delaying the team from staying in a game with Aaron Rodgers.