Numbers game not a pretty one to play for Bears
Numbers tell an ugly story leading into tonight's game
It's good for the Bears that Monday night's game will be played on the field and not on paper.
Because the numbers -- they're pretty ugly.
The Packers' offense remains one of the NFL's best, despite injuries to key skill-position players. They're second in yards and third in points, which is no surprise. What's shocking about this year's offense is that the running game is one of the league's best, ranking No. 3 in yards and average gain per rush behind rookie running back Eddie Lacy and James Starks.
The Bears' defense, which has suffered key injuries as well, is unfortunately, atypically porous. They're 27th in yards and 29th in points allowed.
Critics have been skeptical of Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, but that's not where the blame lies according to two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman.
"Coaches can only take so much blame," said Tillman, who is tied for the team lead with 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. "At some point in time, some of that blame has to go on the players, and I take full responsibility for my group not playing well. We haven't been making plays that we were supposed to make, not taking advantage of the opportunities that have been given to us."
As has been the case for the past decade, the Bears' defense has contributed some big plays, returning 3 interceptions and a fumble for touchdowns.
It's all the other plays, especially the passing plays, that have been the problem.
The Bears are dead last in average gain allowed per pass, which, on paper, is not a great matchup against Aaron Rodgers, whose career passer rating of 105.2 is by far the highest in NFL history.
After allowing 45 points to the Redskins, the Bears' defense isn't being given much of a chance.
"Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, so it's fine," Tillman said. "I'm OK with it. We obviously must have given them reason to think that, so until we start to make some plays and win games, then maybe we turn some heads."
Rodgers' passer rating is 108.0 this season, even though he's been without wide receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones for the past two weeks. Among his other skills, Rodgers seems to get better every year at the tough-to-defend back-shoulder throws, regardless of who's on the receiving end.
"(Heck), every pass he throws is hard to defend, just because he's that good," Tillman said. "He's got a lot of precision in his arm. (Shoot), he's the best at a lot of throws."
The biggest problem for the Bears' pass defense all season has been the absence of a pass rush from the front four. The Bears' defense is 31st in sack percentage, and linemen have just 4 of their 9 sacks.
That could be a problem against Rodgers.
"When the man has time to throw the football, and you can't get to him, he's going to find an answer or he's going to run and make a play," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "So we've got to find a way."
The Bears haven't done that in a while against Rodgers or the Packers, who have won eight of the last nine meetings.
In his last four regular-season games against the Bears, all Packers victories, Rodgers has completed 94 of 135 passes for 1,090 yards, 12 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and a 117.2 passer rating.
And then there's the ground game, usually a Packers weakness until they drafted the 5-foot-11, 230-pound Lacy in the second round.
"He's a big, strong guy," Trestman said. "He can run inside and outside, and he's a physical presence which really Green Bay hasn't had to my recollection in recent years.
"It really doesn't matter how much you throw it. You still want to be able to say, 'We can run it when we want to run it.' I'm sure that's something (coach) Mike (McCarthy) likes to have in his back pocket to take a little pressure off the quarterback, and it's helped them tremendously."
And that's more bad news for a Bears defense that is 25th against the run.
• Follow Bob's NFL and Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.