Brian Hoyer is breaking records but not scoring points
The Chicago Bears are not getting enough out of quarterback Brian Hoyer.
On paper, Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer is having a terrific season under center in place of the injured Jay Cutler. He has thrown for 1,396 yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions this year and did something a Bears quarterback has not done in over 50 years on Sunday.
Brian Hoyer: First @ChicagoBears QB since at least 1960 with 300+ pass yards in 4 straight games— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 17, 2016
Despite his impressive numbers on the surface, Hoyer has done very little to assert himself as the team's best option at the position this season. The Bears have been moving the ball well and are seventh in total yards with an average of 375.2 yards per game, but they are averaging just 16.8 points per game—last in the NFL.
Not all of Chicago's issues with scoring can be placed on Hoyer, but he is a big reason why the Bears have failed to get into the end zone in recent weeks. The Bears have applauded his ability to not turn the football over, but that also means he has not been attempting many throws deep down the field.
According to Pro Football Focus, the veteran quarterback completed 25 of his 35 passes for 233 yards on all passes under 10 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Conversely, he completed just five of his 13 attempts for 79 yards on all passes over 10 yards.
In addition to finding his name in the Bears' record book, he also found his name in the NFL record book—just not for a good reason.
The Bears scored just one touchdown against the Jaguars in Week 6 and that came on a one-yard run by running back Jordan Howard. The team had three other chances in the red zone, but Chicago was unable to capitalize on its opportunities.
“It’s like what we talked about last week—we’ve got to find a way to score those touchdowns down there,” Hoyer said. “The defense does a good enough job, we can’t put them in that position."
Hoyer's style of offense worked well in the first half and the Bears had no issues converting first downs until the Jaguars made adjustments in the second half. Chicago converted seven of its first 10 third downs before failing to convert on seven chances in the second half.
The Jaguars came down in the box in the second half and dared Hoyer to pass the ball deep down the field, but he failed to capitalize.
“It’s frustrating,” Hoyer said. “[You can] look at how it comes down at the end, but we had our opportunities early. The numbers are the numbers. We have to find ways to get in the end zone and hopefully you’re not putting yourself in that situation at the end."
The Bears had just under three minutes to get a drive going on offense after Jacksonville took a 17-16 lead in the fourth quarter, but Hoyer could not execute when the team needed him the most.
It is clear at this point that neither Hoyer nor Cutler are long-term solutions at the position for the Bears, but Hoyer's performance in recent weeks proves he is good enough to keep games close but cannot seal the deal when needed.
For as much flack as Cutler has received in his career, he is tied for seventh place among all active quarterbacks in fourth-quarter comebacks with 21. Last season alone he recorded four fourth-quarter winning drives. One each against the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Hoyer has performed much better than anyone would have thought in his four starts this season, but when a team cannot score points with him under center his performances deserve to be picked apart.
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