It’s hard not to experience some sort of regression after being the top defense in the league. The likelihood of a drop off is increased even further after losing a top defensive coordinator to a head coaching gig.
That’s the reality for the Chicago Bears this season. While they’re still a top ten unit, Chuck Pagano’s unit hasn’t lived up to the brilliance of Vic Fangio’s 2018 campaign. Making matters worse, the Bears’ defense is trending down in every meaningful category over the last three weeks. It’s not all on the loss of Akiem Hicks - despite him being a significant loss - as the Bears had six sacks against the Vikings without him in a 16-6 win back in Week 4.
Since that win over the Vikings, the Bears’ needle pointing down in DVOA, points per game, touchdown drive frequency, third down conversions, takeaways, and red zone scoring. A hint as to why that’s happening is related to their pass rush. They’ve failed to create a 30% or better pressure rate against enemy quarterbacks and have only record two sacks in the past three games. In that span, Khalil Mack has only 7 pressures and 1 sack while Leonard Floyd was blanked on both of those stat columns.
Perhaps one way to jump-start the pass rush is to get Mack, who switches sides often, one-on-one with Andre Dillard for the bulk of his snaps. Outside of that possibility, Pagano has resorted to blitzing in key situations to manufacture pressure. For the most part it hasn’t given much of a boost, but it’s still capable of providing splash plays for a defense sorely in need of them.
Bears' CB Kyle Fuller is a doggone ballhawk.. great break on this throw impacted by pressure.— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) October 28, 2019
Set the Bears up at the 4-yard line & led to FG, which is a big win for the Bears' offense. pic.twitter.com/xYm3crd9qb
And let me be perfectly clear, just because the Bears’ defense is on a downswing, it does not mean they don’t have the ammunition to quickly turn it around. Between Mack, Kyle Fuller, Roquan Smith, Eddie Jackson and others, talent is not lacking in Chicago.
We dig more into the match-up between the Eagles’ offense against the Bears’ defense on The Kist & Solak Show #142! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!