The Chicago Bears shattered everyone’s expectations this past season and made the worst-to-first leap from 5-11 in 2017 to 12-4 in 2018, giving them their first playoff berth since 2010. But with an offense that ranked 23rd in PFF team grade and a defense that ranked first, it’s quite clear the defense played a large part in their success.
A season ago, the Bears’ defense was led by a stellar secondary that recorded a 95.9 team coverage grade — the best we have ever seen here at PFF. However, as indicated by PFF data scientists Eric Eager and George Chahrouri, coverage performance is unstable year-to-year. This, of course, begs the following question: Can Chicago’s defense replicate that absurd level of play in 2019?
Before answering that, let’s take a look at Chicago's record-setting defense from a season ago, and examine the players who contributed to a stellar season.