Snap Judgment: Fewer snaps on defense made a difference for Bears

The Bears didn’t need to rotate much defensively, an encouraging sign from Trey Burton and other notes from their snap distribution against the Chargers.

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Khalil Mack played 96 percent of the snaps Sunday.

Khalil Mack played 96 percent of the snaps Sunday.

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Bears played by far their fewest defensive snaps of the season in their 17-16 loss to the Chargers on Sunday, and that meant they didn’t have to rotate as much. The offense’s 38 minutes of possession meant the Bears had just 45 plays on defense. The previous low was 57.

Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano took advantage of that by playing linebacker Danny Trevathan, cornerback Kyle Fuller, safety Eddie Jackson and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix the entire game. He also rode cornerback Prince Amukamara (98 percent of the snaps), linebacker Khalil Mack (96 percent), linebacker Leonard Floyd (93 percent) and linebacker Roquan Smith (89 percent).

For Smith, it was a rise in percentage of playing time from 69.2 last week, but also a decrease in total snaps from 54 to 40.

Here are some other notes from the snap count distribution against the Chargers;

Uptick for Burton

Trey Burton’s usage is always a focal point for Matt Nagy, and he played a season-high 49 snaps (60 percent) against the Chargers. He had one catch for 16 yards on four targets.

Burton likely would’ve played even more had the Bears not been so run-heavy. Backup offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas played 17 snaps as an extra blocker at tight end.

Run game

Blocking was an emphasis for the Bears all around. Veteran running back Mike Davis, who was quickly elbowed out of the offense by David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen this season, played 11 snaps. It was his most since Week 2.

Davis got two carries for 3 yards.

Montgomery was the workhorse and set career-highs in carries (27) and yards (135) and had his second-highest yards per attempt (5). He played 60 snaps (73 percent) after previously never playing more than 48 in a game.

That left Cohen with 17 snaps. He ran four times for 9 yards and caught all three of his targets for 37 yards.

Tight end J.P. Holtz, who Nagy uses as a fullback, played 29 snaps (35 percent).

Defensive line distribution

Pagano leaned on Eddie Goldman (60 percent) and Bilal Nichols (51 percent), then split up the remaining snaps among Roy Robertson-Harris (42 percent), Nick Williams (38 percent) and Abdullah Anderson (2 percent).

Balance among receivers

The passing game skewed heavily in Allen Robinson’s favor against the Saints, then evened out against the Chargers.

Robinson was in for 73 snaps (89 percent), Taylor Gabriel played 74 percent, Anthony Miller played 51 percent, Javon Wims played 23 percent and Cordarrelle Patterson played 18 percent.

Robinson led the team with seven targets, followed by Gabriel (six targets), Montgomery (five targets), Miller (three targets) and Patterson (two targets). Mitch Trubisky did not throw to Wims.

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