I haven’t been shy about how much confidence I have in this year’s Chicago Bears team.
To be exact, I said they were the team to beat in the NFC North.
I still wholeheartedly believe the Bears are the best team in the NFC North. The past five games have only cemented that.
But I have to say that the way the Bears have won football games so far has surprised me.
With the Bears on a bye week this Sunday, I think it’s a great time to step back and take a (mostly) objective look at how the Bears’ season is going.
- Points Per Game- 29.8 (4th)
- Yards Per Game- 346.2 (19th)
- Passing Yards Per Game- 222.6 (22nd)
- Rushing Yards Per Game- 123.6 (11th)
There were some very high expectations for this offense coming into the season. With jJay Cutler throwing to Brandon Marshall again, and Matt Forte and Michael Bush in the backfield, there should be high expectations.
Though the offense has been very good at times, it’s not looking as sharp and explosive as it should be.
Sometimes numbers can be deceiving, but in this case the team’s offensive numbers are an accurate reflection of how things are going on the field. The points per game definitely stands out, but that average includes defensive touchdowns. If you take away the defensive touchdowns, the Bears are averaging 23.6 points per game.
Cutler’s passer rating (78.7) is ranked 21st in the league. Forte’s 270 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown is 19th in the league. Those aren’t exactly numbers of an “explosive” offense.
Brandon Marshall’s 496 receiving yards (4th in the NFL) and three receiving touchdowns is the one thing worth noting on the offense. I am glad I can say signing Marshall hasn’t been a mistake. Let’s hope it stays that way.
- Points Allowed Per Game- 14.2 (4th)
- Yards Allowed Per Game- 291.2 (6th)
- Passing Yards Allowed Per Game- 225.4 (14th)
- Rushing Yards Per Game- 65.8 (2nd)
Unlike the offense, the expectations for the defense weren’t as high. The general census was that the front four were still very strong, but the aging linebackers and average backfield were going to pose problems.
The latter has been somewhat true this season. By the numbers, the Bears pass defense has been about average compared to the rest of the league, and Urlacher has lost speed from injuries and age.
But boy, can the defense cause turnovers. And that is what’s making a difference.
I don’t know why, but everyone seems to forget the Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli stress creating turnovers more than anything. It’s hard to say the defense isn’t opportunistic when their two starting cornerbacks have a combined six interceptions.
As good as the defense has been, the road ahead is going to get tougher with teams like Carolina, Houston, and San Francisco in the short future. If they’re going to compare this defense to the 2006 defense, the defense is going to prove themselves against those teams.