For the past several seasons, the Chicago Bears were almost a chore to watch. They were predictable, they weren’t exciting and they weren’t very good. Since losing to the Green Bay Packers in the 2010 conference championship, Chicago hasn’t won more than 10 games, averaging 6.5 over the course of seven years. They hadn’t made the playoffs since that fateful loss.
Ever since then, the Bears had been performing at average levels, at best. They had one season of above-.500 football, a 10-6 record during the 2012 season, before plummeting to 8-8 the following year. Sadly, that was the best it was going to be for a couple years. Bears fans would always have some sort of optimism that the team would turn things around, but it never happened. Thankfully, everything started to change. It began in January of 2015, when Ryan Pace was hired as general manager.
It didn’t happen overnight. The team still had to suffer under three years of John Fox as head coach, where they didn’t win more than six games. That changed this past offseason, when the Bears brought in Matt Nagy, the former offensive coordinator from the Kansas City Chiefs, to be the 16th head coach in franchise history.
Together, Pace and Nagy have made Bears fans re-discover the winning culture of the Chicago Bears. Pace’s willingness to be aggressive in trades, like the Khalil Mack trade or several draft-day deals, and Nagy’s ability to bring out the best of his players, have made the Bears…well fun to watch.
The Mack trade has been well-discussed, but it’s safe to say that he has been the lynchpin of this new-look Bears defense. They were already a top-15, arguably a top-ten unit without him, but with number 52, the Bears are easily top-three. Nearly everyone agrees that Mack is a superstar, but the Bears have another budding player on their team. That would be number 10, Mitch Trubisky.
Trubisky has been fun to watch this season, even with some of the mistakes he’s made. After playing in 12 games last year, he had nine touchdowns total, seven throwing and two rushing. This season, in 10 games, he’s up to 20 touchdowns throwing and three rushing. Back on November 13, Sporting News released an article showing that Trubisky was on pace to break two franchise records for the Chicago Bears…in his second season nonetheless.
Despite missing the Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions, Trubisky is still projected for 29 touchdowns, nearly 3,600 passing yards and 13 interceptions. While his arm is still evolving, the Bears have had several long drives thanks to Trubisky running the ball. He had taken over the league lead in rushing yards by a quarterback from Cam Newton. The Bears success can be tied to Trubisky’s growth under Nagy. It’s safe to say that number 10 will continue to rack up some nice wins for the Bears.
Speaking of wins, this season, Chicago already has eight of them, with five games left to play. They have beaten three division opponents in 11 days. It took Fox THREE YEARS to beat three division opponents. Even though their wins have been phenomenal, the better part of this season is that their LOSSES have been close.
The Bears’ three losses this year have been by a grand total of 11 points. A one-point loss to the Green Bay Packers on opening night seemed to prove that this was going to be a different Bears team. Since then, they lost by one possession to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, coming a half-yard shy of sending the game to overtime. They had an overtime loss to the Brock Osweiler-led Miami Dolphins, but if that is their worst loss of the season, it’s a lot better than what a loss under Fox or Marc Trestman would have been.
It should be noted that in all three of those games, Mack, the star acquisition of the Chicago Bears, was not performing at 100%, either due to injury or the fact that he didn’t hit the football field until a week before the NFL season started.
What matters now is that the Chicago Bears are 8-3, they are in first place in the NFC North and they are proving that defense still matters in the NFL. Despite all the high-scoring games and outstanding performances from Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes, the Bears are using their defense to beat their opponents. They might still be a year away from actually contending for the Super Bowl, but the Bears are proving that they are for real. The Monsters of the Midway are back, and Chicago has never been more thankful for that.