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Is turnover margin a good indicator for Bears?

Posted Nov 13, 2012

Larry discusses the Bears' record when winning and losing the turnover battle, preparing a backup quarterback to play and how the Bears have fared in San Francisco.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

It seems like whenever the Bears win the turnover battle they win the game, and whenever they lose the turnover battle they lose the game. Do the stats back that up?

William P.
Hanover Park, Illinois

Turnovers have been a good indicator of the Bears' success. Since Lovie Smith became coach in 2004, the Bears are 48-9 with a positive turnover ratio, 13-32 with a negative ratio and 17-18 when it's even. Since 2009, they're 23-3 when winning the turnover battle, 5-14 when losing it and 5-7 when it's even. This season the Bears are 6-0 with a positive ratio and 1-2 with a negative one. Here's what Lovie Smith said Monday after the Bears had four giveaways and two takeaways in the 13-6 loss to the Texans: "When you lose the turnover ratio especially in a game like we had [Sunday] night, normally it's not going to lead to a win, and it didn't."

Why don't the Bears give their No. 2 quarterback more reps in practice? I feel that Jason Campbell would have been more prepared against the Texans if he had gotten more work.

Phil J.
Schaumburg, Illinois

When it comes to how the Bears prepare for a game, their No. 1 priority is to get their starting quarterback ready to play by giving him about 75 percent of the practice reps. That still leaves plenty of snaps for the backup, who also operates the scout team against the first-team defense in practice. Asked about getting the second-stringer more reps, coach Lovie Smith said: "You have to get the guy ready you think will give you the best chance, and that's going to be the starter. The backup will get some reps. That's just how life goes. If we could look into the future, then maybe you would do that. But that's just not how it's done."

I can't remember the Bears ever doing well in San Francisco. It seems like they've suffered a lot of lopsided losses to the 49ers. What is their record there in recent years?

Jason L.
Little Rock, Arkansas

Since 1985, the Bears are 0-7 in San Francisco. The good news is that they've only lost one game there in Lovie Smith's nine seasons as coach, a 10-6 defeat in 2009. (Smith is 3-0 against the 49ers at Soldier Field.) In their six losses in San Francisco from 1987-2003, the Bears were outscored by an average of 38-6.

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