The Bears Just Clinched Their First Winning Season Since 2012 and Other Bullets

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The Bears Just Clinched Their First Winning Season Since 2012 and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

The only way to properly celebrate the Chicago Bears capturing their first winning season in six years is to pop bottles* at Club Dub:

*And by pop bottles, I mean get me a nice cup of hot cocoa and maybe a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. Please and thank you.

  • Give credit to where it’s due: GM Ryan Pace has finally assembled a team and coaching staff worthy of unrivaled praise. If you dished out your distaste in prior years (and there was plenty reason) then you have to tip your cap now. No excuses.
  • And if you had flashbacks to 2006 last night, you were not alone. We’re at a point with this defense where you know (yes, know … as opposed to think/hope/believe) that – more often than not – they’re going to bring the noise and make things troublesome for opposing offenses. And nothing says trouble like three sacks, eight quarterback hits, five tackles-for-loss, and 10 passes defended. The Bears were everywhere on defense on all three levels and in the Rams backfield.
  • Remember when Sean McVay rattled off 11 Bears defenders last week? That was fun. The one player he didn’t mention was Eddie Goldman, who did this to his quarterback and turned the tide in the Bears’ favor:

  • That sack was similar to his take-down of Russell Wilson in Week 2. There was pressure from Khalil Mack on the outside with Goldman’s push up the middle that made big things happen. Wanna bet Goldman finds his name at the top of McVay’s scouting report if these two teams meet again in January?
  • Moving on to the second level of the defense, Roquan Smith continues to emerge as he came up with his first career interception:

  • Sure, part of that play is Smith being in the right place at the right time and Jared Goff throwing a pass right into his bread-basket. But on the other hand, you still have to catch the ball. Guys with Smith’s speed, agility, and vision don’t end up on defense if they have sure hands. Well, unless it’s the Bears defense that has come away with a league-leading 25 interceptions.
  • Also … LOL:

  • It all starts with Khalil Mack rushing the passer. Mack came up with a sack and two quarterback hits to go along with a tackle-for-loss. That brings Mack’s primetime numbers to 4 sacks, 4 QB Hits, 2 tackles-for-loss, 4 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, 10 total tackles, and a pick-six. That’s what premier defenders do in big moments.
  • As we noted the other day with Leonard Floyd getting more action on the left side of the defensive formation, Mack was again seen doing damage on the opposite side:

  • Andrew Whitworth is a Pro Bowl left tackle and the sturdiest blocker on the Rams offensive line. And Mack drove through him and a teammate to make that play.
  • On the other side of the field, Aaron Donald didn’t do much of anything. It’s not like wasn’t trying, it’s just that rookie James Daniels put together his best game as a pro. Donald came away with just one solo tackle and one quarterback hit. That’s it. Daniels, who just turned 21 earlier this season, did more than hold his own against an all-world defender and that should be one of the bigger takeaways from this game.
  • Sitting in section 349, I was joking with my buddy Zack at the game that Ben Braunecker’s penalty was something done on purpose. Little did I know, Matt Nagy was on some galaxy-brain coaching stuff:

  • Speaking of next-level coaching:

  • Game Recognize Game, Vol. 15:

  • One of these days, I’ll learn to shoot video horizontally:

  • How unlikely was that play? The oddsmakers at William Hill had “The Field” as a 13/2 long shot. Or in other words, a player who doesn’t appear on their list of options scoring the first touchdown would have received a $750 payout on a $100 bet. In short, Bradley Sowell made some risky investor some serious cheddar.
  • And that was your offensive highlight on Sunday, as Mitch Trubisky and Jared Goff combined to go 36 of 74 for 290 yards with 1 TD and 7 INTs. YIKES! That all adds up to a 48.6% completion rate, 3.9 yards per attempt, a 1.4 TD%, 9.5 INT%, and a woeful 24.0 passer rating. That’s as bad as it gets from a quarterbacking perspective and not at all what we would have expected from the first quarterback selected in their respective draft classes.
  • Read that last Bullet back again and let it sink in: Nearly 10 percent of the passes thrown on Sunday resulted in a turnover. Mind. Blown.
  • Punters are people, too:

  • I’ve had enough of these silly penalties, especially the ones in the red zone:

  • Overheard in Section 349: “I swear they lead the league in these.”
  • I’ve been looking for penalty designations all morning and couldn’t find anything that would back up that claim, but it’s worth noting that The Football Database has the Bears being called for 15 false start penalties – which is tied for the 12th most in the league. So while you’re going about cleaning up those unnecessary illegal formation penalties, tidy up those false starts.
  • For what it’s worth, the Bears have 33 penalties that are in categories that are unlisted on The Football Database’s penalty breakdown. I’m not going to suggest that all 33 of those are illegal formation penalties in goal-to-go situations, but I’m not not going to suggest it either.
  • And before you start thinking this Bears team is some undisciplined group, they have been penalized the sixth fewest times in football this season. Last year’s team committed the eighth most penalties, while the 2016 team was tied for the 11th most penalties. Wiping out self sabotage has done wonders for the Bears on both sides of the ball this year. They’re not moving backward as often as they used to and their defense isn’t committing drive-extending penalties. It’s a beautiful thing.

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.