Starting with the off-season immediately after 2017 ended, the Bears 2018 season has had astronomically more highs and lows than any Bears season of recent years. That’s sort of true by default, since the other seasons didn’t contain many highs, For some fans, the painful years leading up to 2018 make us feel more appreciative of any success the Bears have. For the rest of us, that experience makes us skeptical when we see the highs and quick to jettison our hopes at the first sign of defeat. These highs and lows can lead to an exhausting emotional dance for the invested fan, and I think it’s worth taking a moment to size up the season so far as a whole.
Let’s see where those highs and lows average out.
Overall Record: 4 - 3. First in the NFC North
I can work with this. A year ago, breaking .500 felt like a wild fantasy. The Bears are on pace for a 9.14 win season, and have two of their hardest games out of the way. If the Bears finish with 9 wins, I’ll probably be let down that the playoffs were in reach but just a claw’s length too far, but it would be a huge improvement from last year and a promising sign for the Bears future. The core of this team isn’t going anywhere for at least a few more years and 9 wins is a great start to work from.
Unless of course, the Bears stay on top of the NFC North with 9 wins, which would just delightful. Not only would they slip into the post-season, but it would afford so much petty pleasure in the failures of our rivals.
Overall Point Differential: +50
Ok. That seems pretty good. Comparing it to other teams in the league, it stands up as being pretty good. It’s third in the NFC behind the Rams at +109 (whatever, we know they’re good) and barely behind the Saints at +51. And we haven’t played the Bills yet, who are aiming for the record books in the negative point differential category, having already accumulated -113.
Mitch Trubisky: 1814 passing yards 15 TD 6 INT (On pace for 4146 yrds, 34 TD, 14 INT) 64.6% completion percentage, 7.7 AY/A
It’s been a love/hate season for Bears fans with Trubisky, but when you look at the numbers as a whole, they’re as good as anyone could have hoped. He’s definitely given reason to worry our hearts with questionable decisions, off-target throws, and a scary amount of flusterability. But he’s also shown impressive resilience, some beautiful ball placement, and the ability to run a Bears offense that’s more effective than we’ve seen in years.
For Bears fans looking for a blanket of cynicism to guard them against the pain of unmet hope, the questions around Trubisky are an understandable place to find fuel. But the man is moving the offense and producing, and that can feel pretty good to see if you let it.
Mitch Trubisky: 296 rushing yards 2 rushing TD 8.0 yards per carry (On pace for 677 yrds 5 TD)
This has become too big a part of Biscuit’s game to ignore. People will call it cheating to combine a QBs passing and rushing yards for total production numbers, but the win loss column doesn’t care how the points got there. So I’ll tell you he’s on pace for over 4800 yards and 39 TDs combined. And we see every game that he’s leaving meat on the bone. Just how much meat could be eaten when Trubisky gets more comfortable in the NFL and the whole team gets more comfortable in Nagy’s offense?
Bears Defense: 17 Takeaways (On pace for 39)
Bears currently sit at #2 on the takeaway list, despite a couple of down weeks against Miami and New England. If they maintain this pace, their 39 would be higher than the 2017 leader (Ravens at 34) and a 77% increase over the Bears 2017 total of 22. In the four weeks that Khalil Mack was fully effective, the Bears were able to stuff the bank with takeaways. It seems hard to believe that level will return when Mack does, but maybe that’s just because it’s hard to believe the Bears are finally good.
Bears Scoring Defense: 15 Defensive TDs allowed, 2 ST TDs allowed 20.6 points per game allowed
This places the Bears 8th overall in scoring defense. If you look at only when the defense is on the field (i.e. omit all special teams scores) the Bears bump up to 5th). I know we all want the Bears to have the #1 defense. For the first four weeks, I believe they did.
But if the Bears finish the season top 8/top 5 in scoring defense, are you really mad? Actually, I can already hear people saying that we gave up 2 first round picks for a guy to make us elite and top 8 is not good enough. Fine. Be mad. Top 8 was good enough for MySpace. I'm sorry it's not good enough for you.
Bears rushing defense: 83.1 yards/game allowed 0 TDs allowed
That’s third in yards per game and 1st (duh) in preventing scores on the ground. Hicks Goldman and now Nichols are a wall of Bear to be reckoned with, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see these numbers after all the times I squealed at my television because a runner dared to break through. Let’s not forget this scoreless record wouldn’t stand if it weren’t for the heroic efforts of Hicks and Goldman when they forced a fumble at the goal line in overtime against the Dolphins, giving the Bears one last chance to win that accursed heat-cheating debacle.
When you add it all up, the Bears are having a good season. If I was to add it up next week, I suspect it would look even better. This is not a trick. This is a season to enjoy, however it ends.