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ATM: Defensive Performance Makes Championship Dreams Valid

| December 11th, 2018

After holding one of the ten best offenses in the history of the league to just one legitimate scoring drive, Super Bowl dreams no longer seem far-fetched for the 2018 Chicago Bears.

Yes, they have to take care of business the rest of the season and any playoff run is going to require Mitch Trubisky to be infinitely better than he was Sunday night. But now that we’ve seen the defense be that good, there’s no reason to put a cap on what the Bears can accomplish this season.

Say what positive you will about the Bears teams of the early-to-mid 2000s, but they never faced — much less beat — an offense like the 2018 Bears just did.

  • 2005 Bears held a Carolina team that averaged more than 24 per game to just three but then got smoked in the playoffs by a legendary Steve Smith performance.
  • 2006 Bears limited the fifth-ranked Saints to 14 points, but that’s still not really comparable as indoor Saints and outdoor Saints are very different things.
  • 2010 Bears played two top-three offenses and gave up 26 and 36 points in those games respectively.

While the defense’s performance Sunday makes the games against Brock Osweiler, Eli Manning and gimpy Aaron Rodgers even more confusing, it also gave validity to their claim as a potentially historic defense. If they can do THAT to the Rams, they can beat anybody — especially when you consider the defensive issues the other top scoring teams have.

Perhaps the best thing the win did for the Bears was set them up in a good position for January. A Super Bowl run will surely require two road wins, but the first of those is currently slated for Los Angeles – not exactly the best home field advantage in the league considering this is the third year they’ve had a team. (And the building will be more than half Bears fans.) Then, of course, they’d likely have to go to New Orleans, a bridge we won’t cross until the time comes. If it comes, of course.

The Bears’ big picture still revolves around Trubisky, who has struggled in the spotlight. Once again, he didn’t look comfortable and once again he threw too many bad passes. The Bears had no business beating the Rams with the way their quarterback played, but that’s just how good the defense was. It’s unreasonable to expect them to be that good throughout the playoffs, so the Bears need Trubisky and the passing game to be better. This season is still largely about finding out exactly what Trubisky is and he’s going to get the chance to show us in the playoffs.

Nobody knows who is going to win the Super Bowl. Every team has warts. Every team has reasons they might not win it all. It’s going to come down to the team that plays the best, just as it does every year. And, as I wrote just last week, this Bears defense is also capable of being bad.  But what we found out on Sunday night is that, even when the team isn’t at their best, the Bears can beat the best.

If nothing else, we now know that the 2018 Bears are capable of winning the Super Bowl because their defense is capable of being THAT good.

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