Chicago’s offense had their best game of the year, but their defense played possibly their worst game of the year. All in all, that evened out, but the Bears ended up falling to 3-7 because their kicker is terrible.
Chicago came out of the bye flat, acting like nobody actually wanted to play a football game against their biggest rival. Their terrible kicker was good, but nobody else really was. The only thing that kept this game somewhat close was the fact that Green Bay is terrible, but they still won fairly comfortably on the road.
Let’s break down this embarrassing effort.
The Chicago Bears probably aren’t going to have a new coach in 2018. At least, not if they continue on their current pace.
Before the season I wrote that if the Bears won seven games, John Fox would be a lock to stay. Through eight games, they only have three wins, but have played the third-hardest schedule in the league, according to Football Outsiders. The last four games particularly have been really interesting.
It isn’t just that the Bears have gone 2-2. It’s that they really beat the crap out of one good team, should’ve won by a lot more against a mediocre team and were close to beating two of the best teams in the entire league.
It seems like the majority of the fan base still isn’t happy. They don’t just want to win, they want to look good doing it. But that wouldn’t matter no matter who the coach is. Hell, a large percentage of those people want Jim Harbaugh, the master of the ugly wins, as the coach.
The DBB team is evaluating the entire organization at this well-placed, exactly midseason bye week. The catch? Each of us is limited to ONE SENTENCE for each position group. Today we move on to the defense.
Jeff: Impossible to say a negative word about this group, with Goldman arguably the league’s best run-stuffing interior lineman and Hicks mounting a serious campaign for Defensive Player of the Year.
Andrew: Hicks and Goldman are studs, Unrein is solid and Bullard and Robertson-Harris have both shown flashes.
Data: Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman might be the best interior DL combo in the NFL.
DBB Grade: A
Jeff: This was the position of greatest depth on the roster and that depth has been severely tested through eight games. Christian Jones has looked like a new player in the absence of Freeman, Kwik and Timu. (Yea that’s two sentences but it’s my blog so go away.)
Andrew: Danny Trevathan is having a career year and young inside backers also making an impact.
Data: Chicago has gotten a surprisingly high level of play out of this group considering they’ve had to rotate through 5 different bodies here due to injuries and suspensions.
DBB Grade: A-
Jeff: Bears ask their outside backers to do a lot, including extensive coverage duties, but this group will always be judged by their ability to get to the quarterback and they’re getting there to the tune of 11 sacks.
Well that was fun.
Chicago’s defense scored not one but two touchdowns and shut Carolina’s offense down, staking the Bears with an early lead that held up for the entire game. Even though the offense never really got anything going, this was the Bears’ easiest win in a long time.
They did it. They finally did it. The Bears defense delivered a dominant performance; the kind of performance I’ve been begging for.
The Bears have a good defense. I don’t think that’s disputable. But they were far from great and really hadn’t shown any signs of that changing until last week. Their fine performances always included major blemishes.
Not Sunday. Sunday they were terrific.
This is what we should expect. The Bears are in Year Three with a defensive head coach and a coordinator who came in with a sterling reputation. They’ve rebuilt the entire roster with players the coach and coordinator had a big role in picking out. They should be great and they had just been good until last week.
If the Chicago Bears want to sell their fans on the current regime leading the team back to glory, they better start making progress. Because last Sunday was decisively not progress. It was more of the same.
With their top two receivers out and the decision to play a terrible quarterback made, the defense has to be the center of John Fox’s sales pitch to stay in the job. What I saw last Sunday was pretty much the same thing we’ve been seeing for the last two years.
The third bullet point is the most frustrating.
We are now 33 games into the Fox/Fangio defense. Some facts:
Those rates are absolutely insane. For two defensive minds as accomplished as Fox and Fangio, how is it possible that their teams are never prepared to start games? Here’s the kicker: in games they managed to fight off their opponents until the third offensive possession, the Bears are 6-6. That’s six of the nine wins of the Fox regime.