HOW IT WORKS:
Pro Football Focus, which nearly a third of the NFL subscribes to, has a complex grading process, looking at every player on every offensive, defensive and special-teams play. Plus or minus grades are given and are based around an average of 0, with each position graded slightly differently. If a player does something you normally would expect, then a score of 0 is given. Grades are given for plays that are reasonably considered to be better or worse than the average or expected play. For the final grade, player participation is factored in, using a normalization factor to set the average player in that facet of the game to 0.
There isn’t much for the Bears to play for these days, but here’s how they’re matchup against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night looks through the analytical lens of Pro Football Focus.
JAY VS. TONY
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo often are compared to each other, whether it’s untimely turnovers, team failures and so on. But for years, Romo’s production has topped Cutler’s output. This year, though, is different in some of PFF’s breakdowns.
*Passes over 20 yards
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Henry Melton celebrates after recovering a fumble during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)
With defensive tackles Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff playing well, the Bears’ defense hasn’t really missed Henry Melton. But Melton still has Pro Bowl-caliber talents and, after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament in Week 3 of last season with the Bears, he’s playing well for the Cowboys.
*PFF defines stops as plays that result in offensive failure.
COWBOYS QUICK HITS
>> Stopping Dez: Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant looks poised for a big day after Lions receiver Calvin Johnson couldn’t be stopped last week. Bryant has 67 catches on 108 targets for 952 yards and 10 touchdowns. Quarterback Tony Romo has five interceptions throwing at Bryant, but also has a 102.1 passer rating.
>> Protecting Romo: Dallas’ offensive line is the sixth-best in PFF’s pass blocking efficiency ratings. The Cowboys have allowed 90 total pressures, including just nine sacks. The Bears have allowed 129 total pressures.
–Adam L. Jahns