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Grades for the NFC North’s Best Team at the Halfway Point

| November 7th, 2018

The Bears are 5-3. They lead the NFC North at the halfway point. Let’s take stock of how the units have performed through eight games.


Offense

Blurb: The Bears have a real, professional, exciting offense and a play-caller getting more comfortable each and every week. That they’re scoring the way they are while bringing along *essentially* a rookie quarterback is the most impressive thing about this unit.

Key Stat: Jordan Howard is averaging only 3.5 yards per carry, a significant drop from the previous two seasons. But the Bears are 7th in rushing yards per game, primarily due to Mitch Trubisky.

Grade: The Bears are still leaving big plays out there because of a young, developing quarterback. But the overall numbers are good and the arrow is now pointing decidedly up. B


Defense

Blurb: The Bears defense has played two poor games and it’s not coincidence that both of those games featured Khalil Mack on the field, on one leg. When the team has either (a) had Mack at full strength or (b) prepared to play without him, they’ve been the league’s best defense. Mack was the MVP of September. Bryce Callahan has been the breakout star. Kyle Fuller has been the unit’s best player for the duration.

Key Stat: Bears rush defense is allowing 3.7 yards per carry (5th), 84.9 yards per game (3rd), have allowed just 1 rushing touchdown (1st) and recovered 5 fumbles in the run game (1st).

Grade: I’ll give them a mulligan for Edith Wharton’s The Osweiler Affair. They’re dominant against the run. They turn opponents over. They score. They’re a great unit. A


Special Teams

Blurb: They had a nightmare against the New England Patriots, allowing two touchdowns, and Cody Parkey missed his biggest kick of the season against Miami. Pat O’Donnell is inconsistent in the punt game but Tarik Cohen is absolutely electric in the punt return game.

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