Bears game doesn’t live up to the hype – on the field and in the ratings

But NBC still wins the night in total viewers, adults 18-49

The Sunday Night Football matchup between two of the best teams in football – Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears at Solider Field didn’t exactly live up to the hype – on or off the field.

The two possible Super Bowl contenders (both at 7-1) played a sloppy game in terrible weather conditions – six turnovers in the game total – and the Bears lost 13-6 with QB Jay Cutler knocked out of the game for the second half due to a concussion.

According to Nielsen final numbers, the game drew 20.9 viewers – flat with last year’s week ten Patriots-Jets matchup (yours truly on Twitter predicted 29 million viewers – and a Bears victory. Both were way off), and was down from the 21.8 million viewers from last week’s Cowboys-Falcons game . This comes off as somewhat of a disappointment, given all the hype and how good both teams were. Even Fox’s NFL Football overrun (which stretched until 7:20 p.m. Central Time with an OT Rams-49ers game) did better, drawing a whopping 24.3 million viewers, and a 8.7 rating/27 share among adults 18-49. In the same demo, Texans-Bears did a 7.9 rating/19 share.

Despite this, Sunday Night Football still dominated its time period handily in total viewers and in adults 18-49, both nationally and in Chicago and Houston, and will likely be the most-watched show of the week.

Locally, the game did a 38 household rating/53 share over WMAQ-TV, the highest of any metered market. That was followed by Houston, where the game did a 32.9/48 over KPRC-TV. Coming in third was Milwaukee’s WTMJ (in Green Bay Packers territory) with a 25.7/36.

The Texans-Bears game may have been hurt by airing opposite AMC’s red-hot The Walking Dead, which once again did phenomenal numbers. The 8 p.m. airing drew 10.37 million viewers and an adults 18-49 rating of 5.6, topping all other broadcast network entertainment fare.

As for other Sunday night programs, Family Guy’s 200th episode celebration was, much like the Bears, also a ratings disappointment – a 2.5/7 adult demo average over two episodes from 8:20 p.m.-9:20 p.m. opposite Walking Dead. Family Guy was also beaten by The Simpsons, with a 3.2/8, while just-renewed Bob’s Burgers posted a 2.4/5, its second-highest rating of the season.

And speaking of getting sacked – how about ABC’s Once Upon A Time? Its performance was about as pitiful as the Bears, plummeting 23 percent from last week to a 2.7/7, a season low. Meanwhile, the network’s Revenge and 666 Park Avenue were each smoked by Dead, summing up the embarrassment prime-time network television has become this season.

Finally, instead of following the football game with its local newscast, WMAQ aired its inane Sports Sunday program, wasting a huge opportunity to showcase its news operation with a gigantic ratings lead-in. Just goes to show you the broadcast network suites or Chicago’s Fox duopoly doesn’t have a monopoly on idiotic decisions.