There are some things in life where you need something in order to complete a task, or just to do something. In order to drive a car, you need fuel. Just to finish an everyday task, you need something that is pretty expensive. To cook a proper pizza, you need cheese. A pizza without cheese just seems like an unpleasant experience. If you look all the way back to the 2007 Super Bowl, every winner, and most losers, have one thing in common: They all had a stout defense with good players all over the unit. 2006-07 Bears, 2007-08 Giants, 2010-11 Packers, 2012-13 Ravens, any Seahawks team, 2013-14, and 2015-16 Broncos. The list goes on. And this year’s Bears team has one thing in common with all of them: A stellar defense.
It is no secret that the Bears’ defense has been killing it through the first three weeks. Through three games, the defense has five interceptions, seven forced fumbles, and fourteen sacks. In all of 2017, the defense had eight interceptions, fourteen forced fumbles, and forty-two sacks. The Bears are on pace to demolish their stats from last year, and it shows in the Bears play too. Their defense just looks better as a whole, excluding the first two drives against Arizona, and a lot of that has to go to the production from Khalil Mack. Mack has recorded a forced fumble and a sack in all three of this year’s games. The last player to do that was Khalil Mack in weeks 14-16 in 2016, his defensive player of the year campaign. He has rushed opposing quarterbacks, and it has made our secondary look that much better. Last season, the biggest thing holding our defense back was the lack of takeaways, and this year, it is looking to be one of our biggest strengths as a team.
If you look back on all of these Super Bowl teams, they all had at least an above average defense, and some of them had a below average quarterback. Look at the 2006-07 Bears. Their defense was loaded with playmakers like Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, and many more, and they boasted Rex Grossman at quarterback. That season, he had twenty-three touchdowns, twenty interceptions, a 54.6% completion percentage, and a putrid seventy-three passer rating. However, that was over ten years ago, and the NFL has evolved on offense. Look at a more recent example, as the 2015-16 Denver Broncos. They had Peyton Manning. Manning is one of the best to ever play the position, and the dude can spin it, straight up, but he was carried this season, plain and simple. He boasted a 59.8% completion percentage, nine touchdowns, seventeen interceptions, and a seventy passer rating. That Denver defense carried him to his final ring and his storybook retirement, and that was only three years ago.
This defense can certainly pick up for the offense’s lack of production like it has through these first three weeks. In all likelihood, the defense will have to keep this up at least until the bye week, realistically speaking. As Trubisky gets more and more comfortable in this offense, the defense will have to ball out like this. We can’t count on this every single week, but with some more time with Matt Nagy, the offense will get there. I mean the Bears are running a college offense. A lot of that has to go to Mark Helfrich, former Oregon head coach. He turned Marcus Mariota into a Heisman winner. You could go watch a Big 12 game and see the Bears offense in a nutshell. Even though I’m not all in on the offense they are running, it will get there, and I still hold optimism for Trubisky and the offense as a whole.
I’m not saying that all of these teams boasted terrible quarterbacks because they didn’t. There were first-ballot Hall of Famers like Tom Brady and Drew Brees, and good quarterbacks like Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton. But then there were guys like Rex Grossman, Joe Flacco, and Nick Foles. I mean come on. Nick Foles was a career backup. All of the winning Super Bowl teams since ‘06 had one thing in common: a stellar defense and the Bears have that checked off big time. This Bears team is not the pizza without the cheese or the car without the fuel. They have the foundation there. Just give the offense time, and it will come. As our arch-nemesis, Aaron Rodgers put it: R-E-L-A-X.