Much of the focus this season has revolved around a Chicago Bears defense in serious decline, the dramatic rise of Alshon Jeffery and the debate over whether Josh McCown or Jay Cutler should start at quarterback. All are worthy topics for discussion but lost in many of the conversations is the amazing improvement of Chicago's offense under first-year head coach Marc Trestman.
For context, let's look at how Bears offenses have ranked in the three major statistical categories the past 20 years.
Those numbers are even uglier than Chicago's run defense this year.
Over the past two decades – three categories per season for 20 years – Chicago has ranked in the bottom half of the league in 48 of the 60 combined major offensive statistics. On average, the Bears have ranked 23rd in total offense, 19th in rushing and 22nd in passing. If you want to know why the Bears haven't won a Super Bowl in nearly 30 years, there's your answer.
That type of yearly ineptitude on offense was the main reason Marc Trestman was hired. In Trestman, GM Phil Emery saw an intelligent offensive mind, one who had worked with numerous elite quarterbacks on some of the most productive offenses in NFL history. He felt Trestman could finally pull Chicago's offense out of the NFL basement, and boy was he right.
In just his first season in the Windy City, Trestman's offense ranks 7th overall, 13th in rushing and 5th in passing. Across the board, at every position, players are performing at a level, both individually and collectively, we've never before seen in Chicago.
Only twice in the past 20 years have the Bears finished as a Top 10 overall offense, and only once have they finished Top 5 in passing. It took Trestman just 11 months to exceed those thresholds.
Looking further, Chicago's offense is on the verge of breaking numerous franchise records this season.
Bears Franchise History
|Category||Currents Stat (Rank)||All-Time Record (Year)|
|Points Scored||406 (4th)||456 (1985)|
|Total Net Yards Gained||5,507 (5th)||5,837 (1985)|
|Gross Passing Yards||3,982 (2nd)||4,352 (1999)|
|Net Passing Yards||3,861 (2nd)||4,136 (1999)|
|Passing Touchdowns||29 (T-1st)||Tied w/ 1947 & 1995|
|Offensive Touchdowns||40 (T-12th)||50 (1947)|
|Passing Attempts||516 (11th)||684 (1999)|
|Completions||336 (T-3rd)||404 (1999)|
|Completion Percentage||65.1 (1st)|
|Passer Rating||98.4 (1st)|
|First Downs||309 (5th)||343 (1985)|
Looking at this table, it's conceivable the Bears may finish 2013 in the Top 5 of nearly every statistical category, most of which revolve around the passing attack. It's a testament to Trestman and coordinator Aaron Kromer, whose offensive line has allowed the third fewest sacks in the league. Chicago's front five, which features four new starters this year, has played a huge part in the success of Jay Cutler and Josh McCown.
With the defense crumbling around them, the offense has carried the team to an 8-6 record. Going forward, this is a great sign. If Emery can rebuild the defense into a decent unit – not even a great unit – then the Bears will be deadly, considering how good the offense is going to be for as long as Trestman is in charge.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.