When the game ended on Sunday afternoon, I was thrilled. Any time your backup quarterback wins a game, it’s a good week for your football team. But as I prepared to do the postgame show and I started looking at the numbers over the last few weeks for the Bears, it really started to annoy me!
I’m guessing you see a headline like this, and you think to yourself, this jerk wants to tank and lose games; no, that’s not why I’m annoyed. I’m annoyed because this is who we thought the Chicago Bears were! And not just the way they played against the Raiders, the way they’ve played the last month, this is exactly who we expected the Bears to be: a much improved but far from perfect team.
And when you think about that, you think about just how poorly they played in weeks one through three and realize that if this team got out of the gate with any urgency, this entire season would be different.
Hear me out. The Bears are 2-2 in their last four games. In the first three games, they looked like an unserious, unprofessional football team. At this point, we’ve seen who the Green Bay Packers are. Are you telling me that this Chicago Bears team couldn’t beat that team at home with a better game plan?
If the Bears play like they have recently, they beat the Packers. Tampa has ended up being a better team than I gave them credit for in August, so that loss is fair, and even if they played better against Kansas City, that’s still a loss. But I truly believe if the first three games weren’t such an embarrassment for this franchise, the players (and coaches) wouldn’t have tightened up and collapsed like they did against the Denver Broncos. If the Bears played like they have the last few games over the course of this entire season, I’m confident in saying this team would be 4-3 instead of 2-5. Think about how easily this season could have pivoted.
Bears Games 1-3 vs 4-7:— Bill Zimmerman (@BillTZimmerman) October 23, 2023
PPG: 15.7 vs 27.8
PPG Def: 35.3 vs 20.5
TO: -4 vs +1
Yds/Gm: 250.0 vs 380.0
Yds/Gm Def: 407.3 vs 288.5
Yds/Play: 3.9 vs 5.7
Yds/Play Def: 6.0 vs 5.0
3rd Dn: 13/38 34% vs 27/54 50%
3rd Dn Def: 27/45 60% vs 16/45 36%
Rush: 102 Y/G 4.3 Y/A vs 171 Y/G 5.0 Y/A
4-3 going into a stretch against a Chargers team that’s underperforming, a Saints team that is mediocre and a Panthers team that is most likely the worst in the NFL. The Bears could be poised to make a playoff push down the final two months of the season, but instead, we are just wondering about where they are going to draft in 2024.
So yes, Tyson Bagent is a great story and proving to be a fantastic find as a QB2 to sit behind Justin Fields (or whoever is here in 2024). He isn’t more than that.
Let’s not make him out to be more than that.
The Bears rallied behind their QB2, the defense had their best performance of the season, the offense ran the ball well, they had a total team performance and won the game. But all that’s made me think about is what this season could have been instead of what this season is.
One day, this team will consistently be good. It may not be in any of our lifetimes, but it’s coming.
- When the Bears ran behind Teven Jenkins and Darnell Wright, they averaged 6.2 yards per carry, but when they ran to the left.... just 3.3 yards per carry.
- Teven Jenkins has only given up one QB pressure this year on true pass sets.
- Over their last 11 games, when Teven Jenkins plays 50% or more snaps, the Bears are 2-1. When he doesn’t? 0-8.
- Tyson Bagent’s 2.1 air yards/attempt was the second lowest in a victory over the last decade.
- Dominique Robinson continues to struggle at, well, everything.
- Gervon Dexter now has the best pass rush win rate of any defensive lineman on the Bears.
- The Raiders game is the first game of the year where the offense and defense both finished in the positive in expected points added.
- DJ Moore is still on pace to break the Chicago Bears record for most receiving yards in a single season.
- Cairo Santos was 10 for 24 on field goals of 50+ in his career prior to 2022. Over the last two seasons, he is 7 for 8.
- Sunday was a very good day in terms of the Panthers securing a top 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The Panthers remain winless (idle), and only one team remains with one win (Cardinals), and that team should be getting their QB back soon.