Bears hitting a lot of lows this season

  • Chicago Bears head coach John Fox watches against the Washington Redskins during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Chicago.

    Chicago Bears head coach John Fox watches against the Washington Redskins during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Chicago.

Updated 12/26/2016 6:44 PM

As a team, the Bears have forced 10 fumbles this year, the same number Bears cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman forced all by himself in 2012.

No NFL team has fewer recovered fumbles than the Bears' 3, and only the Jacksonville Jaguars have fewer interceptions than the Bears' 7. The Bears' 10 takeaways are the fewest in the NFL.


Combined with their 26 giveaways (17 interceptions, 9 fumbles) the Bears' minus-16 turnover-takeaway differential is the second worst in the NFL, ahead of only the Jets.

This Bears defense is historically bad when it comes to forcing turnovers. Last year's team established the franchise low for takeaways with just 17, but that's 7 more than this year's squad with just one game remaining. The Bears also had a franchise-low 8 interceptions last year, which is 1 more than they have this year.

"Yes, that's a low total," coach John Fox said of the 10 takeaways. "But it's two totals, there's giveaways and takeaways, and we're minus-16, (which) is a big reason we're sitting here at 3-12."

In five of the Bears' last six games, they've failed to force a single turnover, so there doesn't appear to be any progress being made, but Fox believes there's hope for improvement.

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"It can change fast," he said. "Obviously the more play-makers you have, the more consistently you can do it. That's something that we have to figure out and figure out quickly."

In the last two games, both losses, the Bears are a combined minus-9. In six of their last seven losses, the Bears have a negative turnover-takeaway differential.

And no one on the Bears appears to have the knack or the "Peanut Punch" that made Tillman such a difference maker. With 2 interceptions, cornerback Tracy Porter is the only Bear with more than 1 takeaway.

Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman leads the Bears with 99 total tackles and 77 solos, including 6 tackles for loss. He hasn't been able to contribute any takeaways, but the five-year veteran knows what it takes.


"It's a mindset," Freeman said. "Being conscious of it, trying to get to the ball, making tackles. Just doing a little bit more."

There's obviously some luck involved, and injuries have hurt the continuity on defense, but Freeman said it's subtleties that can make a difference. "You see on film guys going for the ball, it's just (a matter of) getting the ball out," Freeman said. "Communication (could be) better. We've got a lot of new guys rolling in. So (it's) just being able to communicate and do things to get interceptions, playing off each other. It's a lot of little different things. But we've just got to get the ball out."

It won't be easy in the season finale Sunday against the Vikings in Minnesota. Despite their mediocre 7-8 record and horrendous 2-8 slump, the Vikings have turned the ball over just 15 times and have a differential of plus-7, both among the top 10 in the league.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.


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