With the loss against the Giants, Chicago fell to 8-4, which as all true Bears fans know is the tipping point for a season. There are those out there with their “probability” and “math” who say that the Bears have a 94% chance of making the playoffs, but true Chicago fans know the truth. It’s time for Nagy to throw in the towel. Just, honestly, he better not have Chase Daniel throw it. It’ll get picked off and run in for six.
On one level, this result should not come as a surprise to any fans, given how horribly the season started off with the draft: That draft has provided the Bears with three starts (total) from more than half of its players: Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Bilal Nichols, Kylie Fitts, and Javon Wims. A draft that was led by the Roquan Smith is of course going to be a disappointment, when you consider that Cris Collinsworth’s
snake oil flim flam analytics group Pro Football Focus has given Smith a poor grade for the season based on his performance to date: 62.6! Not even 63! And you know it’s science-y because it has a decimal place. You can’t logically argue with a decimal place.
This is the same PFF that declared smith “the Perfect LB or today’s NFL’, so it’s obvious that he much have really messed up if they changed their mind already. That kind of inconsistency really has no other explanation.
However, enough crying over spilled milk. The draft is over, and with only a starting inside linebacker, a starting interior lineman, and an emerging starter at wide receiver to show for it (besides a rotational piece on the defensive line and a special teams contributor, that is), the Bears have predictably struggled.
They just let the Giants beat them! The Giants! That is not something a team heading to the playoffs allows to have happen.
Look, someone is going to claim that the defense is first in DVOA through Football Outsiders’ last update (1st vs. the pass and 1st vs. the run), and top five in the following categories: opponent points per game, opponent points per play, and opponent touchdowns per game. That same person is going to ignore the evidence that the Bears allow a massive 7.1 yards per pass, good for only 11th place in the NFL! As everyone knows, the only statistics that matter are the ones that show the Bears are struggling, and it is possible to find statistics that place the Bears outside of the top ten in a few defensive categories. It’s sad, really, that fans still think this might be an elite unit.
The Bears as a team only have 37 sacks at the moment, placing them in a tie for fifth place. How elite can a defense be if it doesn’t place in the top ten percent of this category? Worse, Khalil Mack only has 9 sacks, meaning that he’s not even in the top ten as a player right now. Nine sacks? The Bears gave up two first-rounders for the guy. He should have at least 18 sacks by now for what they gave up!
It doesn’t even matter that the Bears lead the NFL with 21 total interceptions, because not enough of those have been returned for scores. Apologists might point to the idea that the Bears lead the NFL with interceptions returned for touchdowns (5), but that’s obviously not representative of the failings of certain individuals on the defense.
Anyone who points out that the Bears have two players in the Top 5 in terms of interceptions (Kyle Fuller in second place with 6 and Eddie Jackson tied for fourth place with 4) is going to be conveniently forgetting all of the should-be interceptions those two players have failed to get.
Kyle Fuller, especially, has way too many should-be interceptions to be forgiven just because he has made 6 of them. What true fans who rely on the eye test understand is that Kyle Fuller’s league-leading 18 defended passes should actually be counted against him, because they are evidence that he is not getting the job done.
However, the defense’s inadequacies barely matter, because of Shouldergate. With news increasingly conflicted about Trubisky’s shoulder, and with the Bears unwilling to actually give Chicagoans access to the MRIs and a chance to interview Mitchell’s physical therapists, we can only conclude that the organization is hiding much worse damage that we feared. This could very well be a repeat of 2011, when Chicago was forced to rely on the services of its backup quarterback for the remainder of a season after a solid start under Jay Cutler.
As strange as that last sentence was to type (“after a solid start under Jay Cutler”...huh), everything is now aligned for the Bears to fall to 8-8. They just have to lose to the Rams, a Packers team with nothing to lose, a San Francisco team starting its backup backup quarterback, and a Vikings team that they have beaten already.
Game and season over. Obviously.