If you think things are bad for the Detroit Lions—well, you’re not wrong—but things may be even worse for the Chicago Bears. They came into 2019 with Super Bowl aspirations, and their season may be over at the halfway point in the season. They’ve gone from worst to first, and if you’re already counting the Lions out of the playoffs in 2019, well the Bears have a worse record going into the two team’s Week 10 matchup.
So what’s going on with Chicago? Why the huge drop off? Are they still a dangerous team to Detroit? Let’s take a look at our Week 10 scouting report.
12-4 record (1st in NFC North) — 0-1 in postseason
9th in points scored, 1st in points allowed
Overall DVOA: 5th (20th on offense, 1st on defense)
Key free agent additions: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, CB Buster Skrine, RB Mike Davis
Key losses: RB Jordan Howard, CB Bryce Callahan, S Adrian Amos, Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio
2019 NFL draft picks:
Round 3 - RB David Montgomery
Round 4 - WR Riley Ridley
Round 6 - CB Duke Shelley
Round 7 - RB Kerrith Whyte Jr.
Round 7 - CB Stephen Denmark
Last year, the Chicago Bears were arguably one of the best teams in the NFL. They got Audible Dong’d out of the playoffs, but they were true contenders riding a historically-good defense.
That all being said, the Bears were prime contenders for a regression in 2019. Their +12 turnover margin was unsustainable—and much of the reason the Bears scored the ninth-most points in the league despite averaging just 5.4 yards per play (20th).
The offseason was unremarkable, to say the least. They lost key defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who took a head coaching job in Denver. And personnel mostly stayed put. With no draft resources in the wake of the 2018 trade for Khalil Mack, it’s hard to make an argument that this team got any better this offseason. In fact, it was quite easy to see they got worse.
The one hope, however, was that quarterback Mitchell Trubisky would take the next step in Year 2 under offensive-minded head coach Matt Nagy. Let’s see how that has played out...
Bears 2019 season (3-5)
Week 1: Loss to Packers, 3-10
Week 2: Win over Broncos, 16-14
Week 3: Win over Washington, 31-15
Week 4: Win over Vikings, 16-6
Week 5: Loss to Raiders, 21-24
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: Loss to Saints, 25-36
Week 8: Loss to Chargers, 16-17
Week 9: Loss to Eagles, 14-22
- 27th in points scored; 6th in points allowed
- 20th in DVOA (27th on offense, 8th on defense)
After a promising 3-1 start to the season, the Bears find themselves in free-fall, riding a four-game losing streak. They already have more losses than they did all of last year, and they’re essentially out of the playoff race at the bottom of the NFC North.
In just eight games, everyone is jumping ship on the Trubisky train, even the most staunch defenders of the quarterback. His 2019 numbers are truly horrible.
He’s last in the NFL at 5.6 yards per attempt. He’s has the third-worst QBR (34.8) and the fourth-worst passer rating (80.0). He’s thrown just five touchdowns in seven games and three interceptions. And as a rusher, he’s never been worse. He has just 11 runs for 46 yards. In his previous two years, he’s averaged at least 20 rushing yards per game. This year, just 6.6.
And Trubisky isn’t helped by his rushing game, either. Last year, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined for a rushing attack that had 1,938 total yards and 4.1 yards per carry. This year, they have just 644 yards through eight games (27th) and 3.6 yards per carry (t-27th).
And while the Bears’ defense is still very, very good, there is some regression there, too. They’ve forced just 11 turnovers in eight games, tied for 16th. Last year, they were first in that category.
But on a yards-per-play basis, this is still an elite defense. They’re allowing just 4.9 yards per play, which ranks them fourth overall. They’re pretty much the exact same defense they’ve always been, just without the ridiculous turnover numbers. Of course, turnovers are highly variable year-by-year, so this regression was highly predictable and not really a condemnation of the defense’s play this year.
Key injuries: DT Akiem Hicks (IR), G Kyle Long (IR), DT Eddie Goldman
For all of the excuses the Bears could use for their failures this season, injuries isn’t one of them. Though Akiem Hicks and Kyle Long are Pro Bowl players, their IR list is just three players long.
As far as recent injuries, Eddie Goldman left Sunday’s game against the Eagles with a thigh injury. Losing Goldman and Hicks would be a huge blow to the interior of this defense. In Goldman’s spot at nose tackle, 2018 fifth-round pick Bilal Nichols took over, and he is a significant step down.
Biggest strength: Edge rushers
Despite the lack of turnovers, the Bears’ pass rushers still remain among the NFL’s elite. Obviously, there’s Khalil Mack, who only has 5.5 sacks on the season, but is among the league’s best in pass rush win rate. But don’t sleep on Leonard Floyd, either. He’s having an underwhelming season thus far (3.0 sacks), but he can also be a terror on the opposite side of Mack.
Biggest weakness: Quarterback
MITCHELL TRUBISKY DERANGEMENT SYNDROME: How the Media Causes Us to Overlook the Start of a Hall of Fame NFL Career pic.twitter.com/8H3Dt8GAYI— Steven Cheah (@StevenCheah) November 5, 2019
Vegas line for Sunday: Bears by 2.5.