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Short fields helped Bears, hurt others

Devin Hester has been instrumental in giving the Bears good starting field position. Mike DiNovo/US Presswire

The Chicago Bears have distributed a chart showing average drive starts for NFL teams during the 2010 regular season.

The figures reflect strength in the return game, among other factors relating to all three phases of the game.

The bottom line: Seattle's divisional-round playoff opponent has had less distance to travel for touchdowns, on average, than other teams.

I'm working on a special-teams piece for later Thursday and can draw from some of this information then.

Looking at the chart, we can see the San Francisco 49ers ranked well down the list.

A few yards might mean little on any one drive, but the impact grows over the course of many drives.

The 49ers had 186 possessions. Those possessions began on the 28.5-yard line, on average. That means the 49ers needed to travel 13,299 yards to score a touchdown on each of those possessions (100 minus 28.5, multiplied by 186 drives). That figure would have been 12,331 yards -- an improvement of 967 yards -- if their drives began where the Bears' drives began.

2010 Drive Starts: Average Starting Position by Yard Line