The Bears emphasize getting takeaways on defense, but if you can't get takeaways the next best thing is to win the game on third down on both offense and defense.
The Bears won that battle and had their best third down efficiency percentage since the week 11 game against the Chargers, and highest percentage overall over the last two seasons.
In the game against the Cowboys the Bears converted on 7 of 12 third downs for a 58.3-percent conversion rate. The third down conversion percentage has to be a continued strong point of emphasis going forward and it was great to see the Bears succeed so well on third down Monday night.
Kellen Davis was key on third down against the Cowboys as all three of his passes went for first downs on third down situations. Davis dropped a pass early in the game, but Cutler had the confidence to go back to him and it paid off late in the game.
The game plan by Mike Tice was his best game as an offensive play caller all season. Tice got the tight ends involved, went deep to Devin Hester and allowed Jeffery and Marshall to work the entire field.
On the other side of the ball the Bears' defense has been dominant on stopping teams on third down. Even with Romo having a strong passing night (other than the obvious turnovers) the Bears' defense was strong on third down.
The Bears defense held the Cowboys to a three for nine third down conversion ratio. The Bears are currently second in the NFL on defense when faced with a third down situation.
Since Lovie Smith became the head coach in 2004 the Bears are first overall in third down stops in the NFL allowing teams to convert a pathetic 33.8-percent rate.
Also of note the Bears' defense is currently rated first overall in the Troy Aikman efficiency ratings with 90.1 points. That's ahead of the next closest team the Houston Texans by nearly four points.
According to the Chicago Bears game release the Aikman defensive efficiency rating are configured as follows:
The Aikman ratings rank teams’ offenses and defenses based off of
a system of seven categories: yards per rush (fi ve points), yards per pass (five points), third-down efficiency (five points), total first downs (five points), points (10 points), red-zone efficiency (10 points) and turnovers (10 points) with a starting base of 50 points for a total of 100 possible points. The Ratings are calculated off a projected average rating of 75.0 and the higher the number, the better the rating.
@catchit16 Usually they are posted on a weekly basis at this website http://www.aikman.com/AikmanEfficiencyRatings.aspx
But they have yet to be updated for the 2012 season. As of right now the Bears are providing that information to the media. Here is what they are providing to this point:
DEFENSIVE AIKMAN RATINGS 2012 Season
Team; Aikman rate; NFL Def. YPG rank
1. Chicago 90.1; 11th
2. Houston 86.8 ;1st
3. Arizona 86.3 ;17th
4. Philadelphia 84.5; 6th
5. Miami 78.2; 16th