It’s been a long time since I wrote anything about the Chicago Bears, so this seems like a good time to take a few minutes and see how things are going. Especially since they are now 4-1 after destroying two opponents in a row: Dallas 34-18 on MNF and Jacksonville yesterday 41-3.
Yeah, I know, Dallas is up and down and Jacksonville is, you know, always down. True enough. Still, look at these scores so far this year in their wins: 41-21, 23-6, 34-18, 41-3. 139 points in four wins, against 48 allowed. 139 – 48 = +91 point differential. Average margin of victory: around 23 points. When you dominate opponents like that, something good is happening. Their one loss: 23-10 against the Packers at Lambeau in week 2.
Defense: it has been really, really good (see stats here). Good pressure up front without blitzing (18 sacks), and a pretty good secondary, have led to putting on a takeaway clinic recently, with 13 picks for 5 touchdowns (and all TD in the last 3 games) so far with 4 forced fumbles.
Offense: doing well enough, helped by Brandon Marshall and even the rookie Alshon Jeffery who are both big and physical, a brand new element for Jay Cutler and offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Forte missed a couple of games with a bad ankle but looked fine yesterday, going over 100 yards on the day. However, sometimes they seem a little too much in love with the passing game, and don’t pound the ball up the middle as much as they could.
Let us not forget the absence of Mike Martz, an example of addition by subtraction if I ever saw one. I hope he is enjoying his retirement, I know I am, and I’ll bet Jay Cutler is, too.
The season is long; a lot can change in a few weeks. But 4-1 after five games and outscoring your opponent by 23 points a game, and getting 5 scores from your defense already, is a pretty fine place to be right about now.
Remaining games (first half): bye week, Lions (MNF), Panthers (NFC South), Titans. Not much to fret over here, although they are probably more likely to go 2-1 than 3-0 in this stretch.
Second half: Texans (AFC West, and second in scoring defense), 49ers, Seahawks and Cardinals (NFC West, and all currently in the top 5 for scoring defense), Vikings home and Vikings away (currently sixth in scoring defense), Packers, and Lions. Looks pretty brutal, from what we know now. All of those teams except the Packers and Lions are either in first place, or close behind.