The defense of the Chicago Bears has been among the best in the NFL this season. The front seven have played extremely well and the secondary has vastly outplayed all expectations. Tim Jennings is have a career season, Tillman is his usual reliable self, and the combination of Conte and Wright has been potent.To really get a good understanding of just how dominant the Bears have been on the defensive side of the ball you have to look at the stats.
Cold Hard Football Facts has created a statistic to measure the effectiveness of a defense's front seven. By taking into account yards per rushing attempt, negative passing play percentage (Sacks and INT's), as well as third-down conversion percentage they have come up with the Defensive Hog Index, or DHI. The lower the DHI, the better.
The Bears defense is #1 in DHI, and it's not even close. Chicago's DHI of 3.67 is over 2 points higher than the next closest team. In fact, no other team has a DHI below 6.
The picture becomes even clearer when you look at the individual stats that go into the DHI. The Bears are 7th in YPA for opposing running backs, 1st in NPP%, and 3rd in third-down conversion rate. This is an elite group up front for the Bears.
In another statistic, defensive quarterback rating, which takes into account total team play as well as quarterback play to determine how well a defense is playing, the Bears are again number one on the list. Their DQBR of 48.88 is again vastly superior to the next best team. There is only one other team with a rating below 60, and it's 59.5.
While it is difficult to find advanced statistics on secondary play, the regular numbers still paint a pretty picture.
Tim Jennings has been out of his mind good this year. He is tied for the NFL lead in both Interceptions and passes defended, and according to Advanced NFL Stats, Jennings is second among corners in estimated points added per game.
And we can't forget about old faithful Charles Tillman. He has two INT's, both of which went for TD's, as well as two passes defended. He is 7th according to Advanced NFL Stats in EPA/G. Both of Chicago's top two corners have been stellar this year. A lot of that must be contributed to the front seven as well though. They have been fantastic at getting pressure on the quarterback and making teams one dimensional.
The Bears are proving they are for real in this young NFL season. I don't want to say the stars are aligning because an injury could occur at any time, but there are not any teams playing better than Chicago. When the AFC has only 2 winning teams and the top NFC teams are wildly inconsistent, it is giving me hope that this may be the Bears best chance at bringing home the Lombardi Trophy since 1985.
Knock on wood, however, as there are a lot of games still to play and the NFL is a crazy league, but the Bears have been crazy good.