January 29, 2022


Analysis

Bears Down, Nerd Up: Robert Quinn is on track to have one of the best seasons by a Bears pass rusher ever

The Bears beat the Lions for the seventh time in their last eight tries with a 16-14 victory at Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day last week.

Lions quarterback Jared Goff is now 0-16-1 without Sean McVay as his head coach. He went 0-7 as a rookie with the Rams and is 0-9-1 this season with the Lions.

At 4-7, the Bears aren’t technically out of the playoff hunt yet, but it would help if they could play the Lions a few more times. Half the Bears’ wins have come against winless Detroit.

It was another wild week in Bears world. Here are the best stats, tidbits and useless info from the week that was.

Quinn’s revenge: Don’t look now, but Robert Quinn is having a resurgent season. He recorded one sack last week against Detroit, bringing his season total to 11.

Quinn is now the first Bears player with 11 or more sacks since Khalil Mack had 12.5 sacks in 2018 during Mack’s first season in Chicago. Quinn’s 11 sacks are tied for fourth-best in the NFL through Week 12. He trails only Cleveland’s Myles Garrett (14), Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt (12.5) and New England’s Matt Judon (11.5). San Francisco’s Nick Bosa also has 11.

With six games remaining, Quinn has a legitimate chance to rise up the Bears’ sack record book. It’s important to note that sacks didn’t become an official stat until 1982.

Richard Dent holds the Bears’ team record with 17.5 sacks in 1984. He is also second with 17 sacks in 1985. Unofficially, Jim Osborne’s 15 sacks (in 14 games) in 1976 ranks third in team history, although sacks weren’t a stat yet.

It’s within the realm of possibility that Quinn could make a run at some of those records. He has been remarkably consistent, with at least half a sack in eight of the 10 games he has appeared in.

The 17-game season will eventually skew many of the NFL’s single-season records, but remember that Quinn missed one game due to COVID-19 protocols. If he were to stay healthy the rest of the way, his 16 games played would be comparable to those past records. If Quinn were to average one sack per game, he could put himself in the conversation for a 17-sack season.

The 31-year-old is also narrowing in on the 100-sack club for his career. Since 1982, 37 players have reached that mark. Unofficially, another 21 are believed to have reached the 100-sack mark before sacks were an official stat.

Quinn currently has 93.5 sacks to his name since entering the league in 2011. Whether he does it this year or next year, it seems likely that Quinn will surpass 100.

This season has been a remarkable turnaround for Quinn, who had the worst season of his career in 2020. He has been doing it without Khalil Mack on the opposite side, too, for the past month. Since Mack went down ahead of the Oct. 31 game against San Francisco, Quinn has 5.5 sacks in four games, including 3.5 against Baltimore on Oct. 21.

Playoffs?: With last week’s win, the Bears doubled their playoff odds, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL projection model. Don’t get too excited, though. They went from 1% to 2%.

Yes, looking at the standings, the Bears are one game back of 5-6 Washington, which would earn the NFC’s No. 7 seed if the playoffs began today. The problem is there are half a dozen teams in the mix for that spot. The Bears have a path to the playoffs, but a lot has to go right and the schedule is not easy.

If the Bears win out – a huge if – during their final six games, they would be 10-7 with 98% playoff odds, per FiveThirtyEight. If they win every game except for a loss to either Arizona or Green Bay, they will have about a 70% chance of getting in at 9-8. A loss to both Green Bay and Arizona, who are currently occupying the top two spots in the NFC, drops the playoff odds to about 12% at 8-9.

The Bears finish the season with games against Seattle, the New York Giants and Minnesota twice. Those games are easier than Arizona and Green Bay, but they are by no means easy.

So there’s a chance, yes, but it will probably take at least five wins in the final six games. It’s going to take some wins against good teams, too.

Thanksgiving start: Andy Dalton was the first quarterback to start consecutive years on Thanksgiving Day for different teams since Joey Harrington started three straight for three different teams with the Lions (2005), Dolphins (2006) and Falcons (2007), per NFL.com. Dalton played on Thanksgiving for the Dallas Cowboys last season.

Dalton’s 220 first-half passing yards were the most by a Bears quarterback in the first half of a game since Mitchell Trubisky threw for 289 yards in the first half against Tampa Bay on Sept. 30, 2018. Trubisky threw for six touchdowns that day.

Century mark: Bears receiver Darnell Mooney totaled 123 receiving yards on five catches against Detroit. He became the first Bears receiver with back-to-back 100-yard receiving performances since Allen Robinson did so in Weeks 3 and 4 of 2020.

Mooney leads the Bears with 694 receiving yards on 46 receptions. That is already his career high after totaling 631 receiving yards last season as a rookie.


Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.