It’s a bit of unfamiliar territory in the town, but one in which the city seems to be taking in stride. It’s easy to do when your football team is rolling with a 4-2 record, and the excitement of seeing a real NFL offense for the first time is something that has begun to take form in front of our eyes.
That offensive transformation has been enough to overshadow the fact the the Bears defense has become what the offense used to be, and that is a liability to the chance of victory each and every Sunday when the Bears take the field.
It’s not that the poor play of the overall defense hasn’t been a story, or even an area of concern. It has been a topic of conversation all around the city, but when you’re winning twice as much as you’re losing, areas of concern can often be overlooked, that is, until that area of concern because the reason for losses.
The bears defense currently ranks 23rd in passing defense, allowing 271 yards per game through the air. They have done better against the run, allowing 102 yards per game, good for 12th in the league. One of the reasons for some of the running game success can likely be attributed to the offense putting up enough points to maintain leads, forcing the opposing offense to throw more often. Keep in mind however, that the Bears schedule has included teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, who couldn’t move the ball downfield, and the New York Giants, who are an absolute mess in what is easily becoming Eli Manning’s worst year of his career. In the Bears six games, they are giving up an average of 27 points a game.
The passing defense has been victimized all season, in large part due to the lack of pass rush by a defensive line that has been absent most of the season. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has attempted to create some type of rush, even moving defensive ends Julius Peppers and Corey Wootton inside to try a create a rush up the middle. So far, it hasn’t been effective.
The identity of this team has become one in which the offense needs to outplay the opposing teams offense in order to win. That hasn’t been the case in the past, but it is a clear story this season, especially given some of the defensive performances to date. The Bears defense doesn’t need to be the defense of years gone by, ones in which they needed to create numerous turnovers to win. Those days are gone. But they do need to be better, much better, if this team is going to be able to sustain success this season. Their playoff hopes will depend on it.
Follow on Twitter @MidwayGasper