Jordan Howard

Here's what the Bears ended up with from the Jordan Howard trade

Here's what the Bears ended up with from the Jordan Howard trade

It may have taken a full season, but we finally know the compensation the Chicago Bears will receive from the Philadelphia Eagles for last offseason's trade that sent running back Jordan Howard, the only player to begin his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons with the Bears, to the City of Brotherly Love.

Unfortunately, Howard didn't deliver the way the Eagles probably hoped he would, and as a result, Chicago will receive a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

Had Howard excelled in Doug Pederson's offense, the Bears could've ended up with a fifth-rounder.

Howard appeared in just 10 games for the Eagles and finished the season rushing for 525 yards and six touchdowns. His 4.4 yards per carry was the second-best of his career and he likely would've had the kind of 2019 campaign that flipped the pick into a fifth-round selection had he been healthy for all 16 weeks. Howard missed several weeks with a shoulder injury and ended up losing his starting job to rookie Miles Sanders while he was out.

In Week 9 against the Bears, Howard ran for 82 yards and a touchdown in Philadelphia's 22-14 victory.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Jordan Howard on revenge game vs. Bears: 'I was definitely amped up'

Jordan Howard on revenge game vs. Bears: 'I was definitely amped up'

PHILADELPHIA — Bears general manager Ryan Pace decided running back Jordan Howard was expendable last offseason. In fact, Howard was so expendable that Pace traded the franchise's record-holder for the most rushing yards by a rookie and the only running back in team history to begin his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons for a conditional sixth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles.

And while Howard said after Philadelphia's 22-14 win over the Bears that he doesn't need any validation from his former team, he did admit he was pretty fired up for the game.

"I just did a little more talking than I usually do," Howard said. "There was a little back-and-forth with the guys. Everything else was normal. It was definitely a little strange because I didn't really go against them that much in practice. They never really tackled me."

It showed on Sunday afternoon. Howard finished the game with 19 carries for 82 yards and scored on a 13-yard touchdown run. He was decisive and ran with power. In other words, he ran exactly the way he did for three seasons with the Bears.

And while it's natural for an athlete to enjoy a win over his former team a little bit more than normal, Howard said his biggest concern was maintaining the momentum the Eagles are building in this mini-winning streak.

"I don't worry about what they do, because I'm here now," Howard said of the Bears. "I wanted to get this win because it was just the next game. I was definitely amped up for this one a little more."

Howard's replacement in Chicago, rookie David Montgomery, had some nice moments on Sunday and finished the game with 40 yards and two scores. His 2.9 yards per carry was more indicative of the offensive line's struggles, but there's no avoiding his crucial drop in the fourth quarter that, had he secured the catch, may have gone for a touchdown. And it may have changed the outcome of the game, too.

Ironically, Howard's weakness as a receiver is one of the main reasons he was shipped out of town. 

Howard's first season with the Eagles is going about as well as he could've hoped, especially with unrestricted free agency on the horizon. He has 525 yards and six touchdowns on 119 carries (4.4 yards per carry) through nine games. He's on pace for 933 yards and 11 scores.

Bear PAWS Week 9: 3 is key against Eagles as Bears look to snap losing streak

Bear PAWS Week 9: 3 is key against Eagles as Bears look to snap losing streak

It's been an entire month since the Bears won a game, and even though Halloween just passed, the nightmare continues for Chicago fans. Stuck on three victories, questions of accountability are increasing exponentially. Is it the head coach’s fault, the starting quarterback’s inability to execute plays, talentless players or bad luck that’s contributing to this ineffectiveness? Is it all the above?

Being “accountable” for these problems means displaying ownership and a willingness to admit mistakes in order to move forward. Let’s use P.A.W.S. (Predictive Analysis With Statistics) to take account of what’s ailing the Monsters of the Midway.

After a home playoff loss to the Eagles, Bears fans were still haunted by the spectre of placekicker Cody Parkey’s infamous double-doink miss entering the 2019 season. Maybe his replacement, Eddy Piñeiro, was spooked by a “lake wind” effect last weekend, as he yanked a 41-yard field goal attempt that cemented another Bears defeat. To his credit, Piñeiro owned up to the miss, plainly stating that he should have made the kick. However, could the process of getting him in range for the game-winning attempt been better executed?

The Bears had plenty of time to do several things differently and create an optimal situation for the game-winning try. After Mitchell Trubisky ran for a first down to the Chargers' 21-yard line, Los Angeles called a timeout with 43 seconds remaining. The Bears made no attempt to get closer, choosing to kneel and run the clock down to four seconds before using a timeout for the field goal attempt. The kneel-down wasn’t centered — which Piñeiro later revealed was his preference — and consequently, he missed left of the goal post.

Piñeiro needed to make this kick, despite his coaches and teammates mishandling a few opportunities to improve his margin for error. The miss is his responsibility, yet accountability for the team’s win/loss records ultimately rests with their head coach.

Speaking of wins and losses, the Bears are currently on a three-game losing streak ahead of Sunday's matchup against the Eagles. During their last three games, the Bears have averaged just 73.7 rushing yards per game (the NFL average is 110.9 yards/game) and have turned the ball over twice in each of the last three games. Inefficiency on third down conversions is another component killing the Bears’ chances to win.

During their current losing-streak, the Bears have converted on only 29.7 percent of their third down chances — No. 26 in the NFL. The league average for successful third down conversions sits at 39.4 percent, so the Bears are considerably lower in this area.

Those are some fancy numbers, but what they tell us is that Nagy has to do a better job of helping his offense convert on third down in order to sustain drives. Sustained drives lead to more scores, and more scores increase the chance of winning. Last season, the Bears converted on 41 percent of third down situations (No. 11 in the NFL), which helped them average approximately 26 points per game and finish with a 12-4 record.

Nagy has won 15 games since taking over as head coach of the Bears; in those wins, his offense has successfully converted on 40 percent of third down attempts. In his nine losses, the Bears' conversion percentage is substantially lower at 34.8 percent. Against the Chargers last week, Nagy constructed a more balanced game plan to help a struggling Trubisky. This season, the 25-year-old quarterback is only completing 40.9 percent of his red zone attempts (No. 41 in the NFL), a far cry from his 64.1 percent completion rate he posted in 2018. The presence of a running game last year helped Trubisky's completion percentage and in turn made the Bears a more diverse offense.

The Bears will need to be less predictable, yet more efficient, with their play-calling. They're facing someone who's undefeated against them as a head coach in Doug Pederson (3-0 lifetime versus Chicago) and he seems to have the Bears’ number. In every one of those games, Pederson’s Eagles have thrown more touchdown passes (6 to 1) and won the time of possession battle. As a matter of fact, the greater the time of possession, the higher the margin of victory for Philadelphia against the Bears.

According to Next Gen Stats, Eagles running back Jordan Howard is the 10th-most efficient rusher in the NFL. Howard, a former Bear, was traded away in the offseason because he supposedly didn’t fit Nagy’s offensive system. Ironically, playing in a similar offensive with the Eagles, Howard is averaging 4.4 yards per carry with five touchdowns. His backup, rookie Miles Sanders, is averaging 4.5 yards per carry on the season and has a rushing score, too. More than likely, Howard holds the Bears accountable for how he was treated last season and will seek some retribution on Sunday.

To a man, the Bears, from the coaching staff to the players, must hold each other accountable if they are to salvage this season. Winning against the Eagles is imperative because the Bears' remaining schedule is daunting (39-28-1 opponents record) with only one team (the 2-6 Giants) having a losing record. Winning on Sunday will depend on how well the Bears:

  • Convert on third down (26.9 percent in four losses, 40.0 percent in three wins)
  • Run the ball to create favorable play action passes (the Eagles are seventh-worst in passing yards allowed and have surrendered 16 touchdown passes)
  • Limit the number of Howard/Sanders rushing yards per carry (both average 4.4 yards or better per carry and have scored six rushing touchdowns combined)

Let’s see which team owns its effort on Sunday.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.