Chicago Bears look to convert yards into TDs
Brian Hoyer's three consecutive 300-yard passing games without an interception are impressive, but the Chicago Bears' quarterback isn't patting himself on the back.
"It hasn't translated to points or victories," said Hoyer, noting the Bears are 1-2 in his 300-yard games.
"Passing yards is kind of an overrated stat when it comes down to it. We've got to translate that into scores. That's just the bottom line. That's part of this business. It's win or lose."
Only five teams have more passing yards than the Bears, who also are No. 9 in total yards per game. But they are 30th out of 32 teams in scoring, averaging just 17 points per game.
"It's good that we're moving the ball, not just in the passing game but in the running game," Hoyer said. "But we have to take advantage of those opportunities and score touchdowns."
The Bears are tied for 24th in scoring touchdowns once they reach the red zone, and their disappointing 30.9 percent success rate on third down is part of the reason they bog down inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
But that's not the only thing keeping them out of the end zone.
"We've got to eliminate the self-inflicted wounds," Hoyer said. "We can't have the penalties and things like that, holding us back when we get down in the red area."
On their first possession Sunday at Indianapolis, the Bears overcame a holding penalty on Josh Sitton, but a face-mask penalty on rookie running back Jordan Howard forced them to settle for a 35-yard Connor Barth field goal.
On their next scoring drive, Kyle Long's holding penalty turned a third-and-3 into a third-and-13 and ultimately resulted in another field goal, this one from 49 yards.
"That's taking potential points off the board," Hoyer said. "We've got to stop doing that and continue doing what we're doing well."
Howard ran the ball well against the Colts, getting 118 rushing yards on just 16 carries (7.4-yard average). A stronger commitment to the run game seems inevitable.
"You get the running game going, and it opens up a lot of things," Hoyer said. "It opens up play-action passes, gets some guys to come down into the box so you can throw it a little easier. Any time you can stay balanced as an offense and try to keep that defense guessing on what you're doing, it's always an advantage to us."
The Bears had a 522-396 advantage Sunday in yardage and, although it didn't translate into a victory, it bodes well for the future.
"As far as moving the ball, some of the timing and some of the things we're doing both running and passing were improvements," coach John Fox said.
"Overall offensive production (was good). But not necessarily in the points category yet, which is pretty critical."
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