Chicago upset Baltimore in week 6, and rookie QB Mitch Trubisky picked up his first career victory in the process. But if you want to award credit to the Bears for the win, the passing game would be a distant third.
The Bears picked up a first down on just 23.8% of all passing plays, and that includes a halfback pass that went for a touchdown; Trubisky gained 4 first downs on 20 dropbacks. But the Bears defense was outstanding, limiting the Ravens passing offense to a 20.5% first down rate. Joe Flacco had a 48.8 passer rating; for his career, he is 2-16 in the regular season when he has a passer rating below 55.0.
But for Chicago, it was the running game that carried the day. The Bears passed on just 28% of dropbacks, and Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard combined to run 50 times for 199 yards. They also caught two passes for 23 yards and threw one pass for a 21-yard touchdown. Given how competitive the game was (Chicago had a Game Script of just +3.3), you could argue it was the most run-heavy game of the season.
The full week 6 Game Scripts data below:
|Team||H/R||Opp||Boxscore||PF||PA||Margin||Game Script||Pass||Run||P/R Ratio||Op_P||Op_R||Opp_P/R Ratio|
The Steelers and Dolphins also had notable run-heavy attacks in week 6. Last week, Pittsburgh passed on 74% of its plays in a game with a -4.3 Game Script; this week, with a +3.9 Game Script, the Steelers passed on just 41% of plays. Le’Veon Bell was a monster, with 32 carries for 179 yards, a script the Steelers would surely love to follow as often as possible. For Miami, it’s worth remembering that the Dolphins won with a -7.3 Game Script, the lowest of any winning team all season. Despite that, the Dolphins barely passed more than they ran: Jay Cutler had 33 pass attempts, while Jay Ajayi had 26 carries for 130 yards.
On the pass-happy side of things, the Jets, Falcons and Broncos stood out for being pass-happy. Denver trailed most of the game against New York, but Trevor Siemian (and even Brock Osweiler for a series) dropped back a combined 58 times! That’s way too many, but the rushing attack couldn’t get going.
For the Jets, the short-passing game is a big part of the offense, so I expect the team to appear pass-happy most weeks. The game had a neutral Game Script, but Josh McCown still finished with 51 dropbacks. It didn’t help that the running game wasn’t working: the team’s running backs had 20 carries, but for just 47 yards. Given New England’s struggles in the secondary, a pass-happy approach makes sense against them for most teams.
Finally, we have Atlanta, where Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman…. were pretty good! The duo had 18 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown, although 64 of those yards came on two runs. Atlanta had a big lead most of the game, so seeing Matt Ryan finish with twice as many dropbacks as those two had carries is a pass-happy performance.