The defense was actually

  • The Chicago Bears had the #1 defense in the regular season by a number of measures White Charles Leno Jerseys ,including Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. and in the only playoff game they will compete in, they held Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to 77.7 passer rating (the only time he has had a passer rating below 100 in the postseason). That’s remarkable.It didn’t matter.In fact, in three of the four wildcard contests, the better defense was lost: Chicago’s #1 defense lost to Philadelphia’s #15 defense, Houston’s #7 defense lost to Indianapolis’s #10 defense, and Baltimore’s #3 defense gave way to LA’s #8 defense. Only with Dallas (#9) beating Seattle (#14) was there a game where the higher-ranked defense came out on top.The picture is exactly reversed on offense. The Eagles (#16) beat the Bears (#20), the Colts (#10) beat the Texans (#21), and the Chargers (#3) bear the Ravens (#15). Again, the odd game out is Seattle’s #9 offense losing Dallas’s #24 offense. On the surface, that could just be a fluke. One of those things, even if it is suggestive.Let’s look at next weekend, during the divisional round, to see what hope might be found for the idea that defense wins championships.We already know that the #1 defense won’t be playing, because Chicago was eliminated. The #2 defense (Buffalo) never made it in, while the the #3 defense was Baltimore, and they were likewise eliminated. Meanwhile, Minnesota (#4) had a chance to get to the playoffs but could not quite make it. Denver (#5) is looking for a new head coach.What are the top offenses doing? They’re getting ready to play. Kansas City (#1) is the only reason the Chargers (#3) even had to play on wildcard weekend Charles Leno Jerseys 2019 , and both teams are still alive in the playoffs. The team in between them, the Rams (#2), might have lost to the Bears in the regular season, but they still have a chance at the Super Bowl. New Orleans (#4) is likewise getting ready to host a game. The #5 offense? The Patriots, who likewise get to host a divisional game. To be clear, that’s the top five defenses going 0-5 for playing in the divisional playoff games and the top five offenses going 5-0 for the same honor. Defense certainly can and has won individual games in the NFL this season. However, only two of the top eight teams in overall DVOA are staying home on Sunday--the Ravens and the Bears. What both of those teams had in common was that they showed mediocre offenses propped up by spectacular defenses. That was enough to get them into the playoffs, but not enough to win games against playoff teams. Right now, Dallas is the only team left with a top ten defense that does not also have a top ten offense. Chicago fans are justifiably happy with how the season went, and the defense did some amazing things. However, if the Bears are going to make another run--perhaps a little deeper next time--the lesson from 2018 is that they are going to take a stronger effort on the part of the offense.Stock up, stock down: Bears vs. Cardinals Lost in the postgame criticism of the offense (which is justified) was the fact that the Bears did something they hadn’t done in nearly three seasons.In overcoming a 14 point deficit, they successfully won after trailing by two touchdowns for the first time since Week 5 of the 2015 season against the Chiefs, when they trailed 17-3.In overcoming a 14-0 first quarter deficit, they did something they hadn’t done since Week 6 of the 2006 season, yes, also against Arizona. That was of course, the famous Brian Urlacher ‘Miracle in the Desert’ game. Last season White Bryce Callahan Jerseys , a 14-0 deficit would have been a for sure game over scenario. Now though, with this defense, the Bears feel like they are never quite fully out of a game, which is nice, since the offense needs all the help it can get.There were some bright spots in Sunday’s game, even if it wasn’t the offensive performance we’ve all been waiting for and wanting.Stock upSherrick McManis, DB - McManis, who is the last holdover from the Lovie Smith era and the longest-tenured Bear, has started just five games for Chicago. He is generally regarded as a Josh Bellamy type; a guy who is a good (although in McManis’s case I’d say great) special teamer, but a guy that the team’s better off not having to rely on too much to play on a starting unit.But Sunday was a big game for the career special teamer: He had a great special teams tackle in the open field and then, when pressed into the line up, had an athletic, diving interception, a pass defensed, a tackle for loss, a sack and a QB hit. His INT and sack came late in the game when the Bears needed a big play to close it out. Hats off to him, it was his first interception since his rookie season in 2010.Kyle Long, G - Long has bounced back after a couple of injury-plagued seasons and two offseason surgeries to beginning to look like his old self. On Sunday he was getting downfield Bryce Callahan Jerseys 2019 , pulling and overall just wrecking dudes. If only practicing once or twice a week means we get Pro Bowl or All-Pro level Long on Sundays, then I am all for it.Trey Burton, TE - Burton had four catches for the second straight week and it seems like maybe, finally he’s getting the production that was expected after a preseason of hearing his name daily in training camp reports. He finished Sunday with a season high 55 yards. As Trubisky hopefully gets up to speed, we’ll see more of Burton, like we did on his 25-yard catch along the sideline Sunday.Stock downEric Kush, G - Kush had a rough game with two penalties and getting pushed around with some regularity. The Cardinals have some good defensive players, but issues like this is only going to make the calls for rookie James Daniels to see the field grow louder.Mitch Trubisky, QB - This isn’t to say there weren’t some positives, but every week that the offense struggles to muster up just one or two touchdowns, the questions and complaints will only grow louder. Patience should still be heeded but Bears fans are an impatient bunch, especially with a defense that looks like this one.Kevin Tolliver, CB - Tolliver showed his rookie stripes Sunday. He was targeted and burned a couple times, notably by rookie speedster Christian Kirk. Tolliver may have an increased workload if Prince Amukamara misses a lot of time with his hamstring injury.Who stood out, good and bad, to you?