Despite winning last week's game, the Chicago Bears are still just 3-7. To many, it is just another losing and frustrating season for a once-proud franchise. With all the drama and miscues, a lot of fans are upset at what is happening. There were calls for players' and coaches' heads just a few weeks ago.
Looking deeper into the season, however, the team is showing the improvement we all wanted to see from them. They are 2-2 in their last four games, in spite of losing starting quarterback Justin Fields. Add in the last two games he started previous to his injury and the Bears are 3-3 in their last six weeks. It might not sound like something huge, but remember that this team had just three total wins in 2022 and is coming off a 14-game losing streak. We should feel good, even if they are taking baby steps.
There were quite possibly some lofty expectations from a team that was coming off such a bad season in 2022. Some fans really expected a playoff berth from this team. Yes, the team has more talent than it had last season. However, there were a lot of holes to fill from last season, holes that could not be filled in just one offseason.
The Chicago Bears have shown a lot of improvements in the past six weeks and look like a team that is improving, despite the fans' groaning.
Head coach Matt Eberflus spoke on what the Bears have done lately, not just the overall play. He sees the improvements the team made. He gave three reasons for the improvement. The first one he mentioned was the turnover battle. For any team to have a chance to win a game, the turnover battle needs to be won.
"The three wins that we did have, the positivity of that was we had zero turnovers in those games and the turnover margin was plus-five."- Matt Eberflus
It is very simple -- win the turnover battle you have a good chance to win the game. As Eberflus mentioned, the Bears were plus-five in that category in their wins. They are horrible when they lose. IN their seven losses, the Bears are -14 in the turnover battle. That will cause losses every time.
The second reason was the defense. The Chicago Bears' defense has made improvements. While there are still fans moaning about the defense, after a slow start the unit has played pretty well, especially against the run. The Bears allowed less than 100 total rushing yards in eight of their 10 games this season.
That is an incredible turnaround, considering that Chicago ranked 31st against the run last season. This season, they rank fourth. They've given up just 48 yards more than the number two team, the Detroit Lions, their opponent this week.
Third-down conversions have been a struggle for the Chicago Bears' defense. Last season, they ranked last in third-down conversions allowed. They gave up 49 percent conversions. This season, they still rank 30th with 45.5 percent. However, in the last six games that percentage is 32.9 percent. As mentioned before, baby steps.
"Both in the top-10 during those games, and that was the reason why we were in most of those games and had a chance to win three of those, a chance to win the fourth and potentially another one there as well."
The defense is still a work in process. They're pass rush is bad again. There is some hope in that area as well, though. The Bears acquired Montez Sweat at the trade deadline and he is already paying dividends. The Bears' pressure has increased since he came. Also, against the Carolina Panthers last week Chicago recorded three sacks after recording just 10 in their previous nine games.
There are still a lot of questions surrounding the offense. There still is no word on Fields coming back. We will know more when the injury report comes out on Wednesday. Even with him playing, there is a question about whether he returns next season. He has a lot to show in whatever games he plays the rest of the season.
Despite another losing record, the Chicago Bears are showing improvement. They are not playing like the hapless Bears team they were last season. A team cannot go from 14 losses to a playoff team in just one offseason. They could have two top-five picks in next year's draft and they'll have plenty of salary cap space. That would make them another level better and hopefully we'll see bigger improvements.