A friend wrote me last night during the Bears game: "when an NFL team is 6-3 and all the fans & media can say about them is that they suck, something complex has gone wrong." I was legitimately curious if the Bears actually suck, so I started looking at some of the numbers.
1. After 10 games—one more than every other team except the Dolphins—they still haven't scored 200 points. The only other teams with a winning record for which that's true are Seattle (one game over .500 in the NFC West, the Triple A of football) and Tampa Bay (who have played the abysmal Carolina Panthers twice, and haven't beaten any other team by more than 3 points... and are 6-3 despite being outscored on the season).
2. They have a bad 3rd-down conversion rate of 32%, third-worst in football.
3. Despite having forced more turnovers than any other team in the league (and this was true before last night's game), their +/- on the season is +3, due largely to Cutler's 10 INTs and Todd Collins's 5 INTs (in 27 attempts!).
4. They've beaten one team with a winning record, the Packers, who committed 18 PENALTIES FOR 152 YARDS in the game. The Packers' PF/PA ratio is 78+, the best in football, compared to the Bears 45+.
5. They've given up the most sacks in the NFL (four more than the second-worst team, ten more than the third-worst team).
1. The defense is fourth overall in yards per game, second in running yards per game, and first overall in points per game.
2. The defense is second overall in opponent third-down conversions.
3. They're first in punt-return average, and have scored 2 TDs.
4. Johnny Knox is having a secretly good season: 7th in yards per reception, 8th in 20+ yard catches, 10th in yards, despite having fewer than 40 receptions.
The defense is great; the running game is mediocre; the passing offense is... just really weird. If they go 2-4 the rest of the way (losing to the Eagles, Patriots, Jets, and Packers), or even 1-5 (Vikings) don't panic—that might just be who they are.