Coming into the 2018-19 season, the Chicago Bears had many questions concerning the future outlook of their team. After finishing at 5-11 under then Head Coach, John Fox, The Bears decided to make a change and hired Matt Nagy from Kansas City to be the Head Coach. Nagy was touted as an offensive guru who would help the progression of Quarterback, Mitch Trubisky and help turn the Bears into a better offensive team. The free agent signings also confirmed that they would do everything necessary to ensure Trubisky had the weapons he needed to take the next step as the starting QB. After trading for Khalil Mack a week before the opener, expectations for the Bears started to climb as one of the best players in the NFL had just been added to a defense that finished in the top five the previous season. The pressure on Trubisky and the offense to deliver was starting to build!
The Bears start to the season couldn’t have ended in a more heartbreaking fashion. Seemingly having the game won, Aaron Rodgers came back from what looked like a devastating injury and led a miraculous comeback against the Bears. Not a good way to start the season at all! The Bears would go on to win their next three games, and started to look like an improved team. The defense was stellar but the offense left fans wanting more. Was Mitch going to hold the Bears back? Were they too reliant on the defense? What was up with Coach Nagy’s play calls? After losing the next two games, the Bears would go on to win nine out of the last 10 games and clinched the NFC North title and hosted a playoff game, their first time since 2010. The dream season would be cut short due to a missed field goal by struggling kicker, Cody Parkey. Oh what could’ve been! There weren’t many teams that wanted to face the Bears, they were putting everyone on notice and will have to put their Super Bowl dreams on hold until next season.
Highlights of the season
Roquan Smith-The rookie linebacker out of Georgia had a really solid season for the Bears. He missed most of training camp due to a hold out but once he got on the field, he showed why he was such a coveted pick. Smith finished the year with 121 tackles, eight tackles for loss and one interception. Smith should be a consistent contributor going forward for the Bears team and it will be great to see his progression!
Khalil Mack– Mack was good as advertised and possibly even better than I imagined. His presence brought a swagger to an already talented defense and helped raised the games of many on that side of the ball. Mack finished the year with 12.5 sacks, one interception and six forced fumbles! Thanks again Jon Gruden!
Matt Nagy– in his first season as head coach, Matt Nagy helped establish a culture and an Identity that the Bears had been lacking for quite some time. Much of the success was due to this group being very connected. I was a big fan of “Club Dub” and thought it was very key to the turn around. The Bears looked like they were having fun and it showed! He had his share of lessons to be learned but ultimately was one of the brightest spots for the team this year.
Winning the NFC North– For years, the Bears have been unable to compete with the Packers and Vikings and occasionally the Lions. It was good to see them come out on top. It was also very nice to see them finally defeat the Rodgers and the Packers, especially with how the first match-up of the season went.
Eddie Jackson– When Eddie Jackson was drafted out of Alabama, he the makings of a star. He played for Nick Saban who always seem to produce talent on that side of the ball and his skills were something the Bears lacked while they were rebuilding their defense. A ball hawk who could turn a take a way into points. That faith that Ryan Pace had when he selected Jackson was rewarded this season as Jackson picked off six passes and returned three touchdowns!
Low-lights of the season
Cody Parkey struggles– after missing the game winning kick against Philadelphia in the playoffs, the Bears willingness to stick with Parkey after previous struggles throughout the year came back to haunt them.
Losing games after leading– The Bears were in every game this year and lead most of the time. Besides the game against New England, which they still had a chance to win that game late, the Bears had some issues finishing games with victories. That comes with a fairly young team, especially on offense as well as with a first year Head Coach. Winning one or two of those games would’ve given the Bears a first round bye.