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Bears stumble after a playoff run. Yes, again.



Last season, the Chicago Bears were one of the NFL's greatest success stories. Selected by our model to win only 6.6 games, with only a 19 percent chance of breaking the team's seven-year playoff run, Chicago thrives under sophomore Mitchell Trubiski and second-year head coach Matt Nagy. The Bears went 12-4, won the NFC North and were just inches from winning the defending champions in the playoffs. Nagy won Coach of the Year honors, and passing through 2019, Chicago seemed poised to build on his breakthrough – thanks to steadfast defense and further potential development by Trubiski.

But things don't really go that way … because, let's face it, they almost never happen in the Wind City. The Bears & # 39; 201

9 campaign was covered by the usual unhappiness: kicks in disaster, coaching mistakes, bad quarterbacking, defensive regression, etc. in-100.

We would ask how things are going so far, except that things always seem to go so far for the Bears when they look for a return to the playoffs. Going back to the 90s, Chicago has repeatedly tried – and failed – to build on its breakout seasons, leaving most fans bitterly disappointed instead. And, miraculously, this season seems to be no different.

Let's go back a bit. The year was 1994, and the Bears were eliminated for two seasons by a series of playoff appearances for eight years, including the legendary championship in 1985. But they were 12-20 in 1992 and 93, during which time the team officially moved as from his head coach – longtime boss Mike Ditka and quarterback Jim Harbaugh, who showed flashes of talent but played miserably in 1993. Led by sophomore head coach Dave Vanstedt and a combination of Steve Walsh and Eric Kramer under center , Chicago turned things around with a 9-7 regular season in '94 and added road victory in the playoffs over the Minnesota Vikings before being sent off by the eventual San Francisco 49ers champion.

Ready to make a postseason return next year with Kramer – who actually had a huge 1995 season – kicked off full-time, Chicago started 6-2. But in the end, the Bears missed the playoffs after going 3-5 during the second half of the season, canceled by special teams and (of all things) defense. Franchising will not bring it back for the rest of the decade.

This playoff drought was interrupted in 2001 when no one thought about the QB – Jim Miller, who threw fewer passes for 2000 bears than the immortal Cade McNown or Shane Matthews – led a team no one remembers much about. for a season no one saw. This year, the Bears' defense went from 20th in points to first place, a feat made even more amazing by the team's average in more yards-based performance. Cinderella's story ended at home against the Eagles in the playoffs, but at least some observers saw another trip to the playoffs in the 2002 cards.

Instead, the defense retreated 25th on points allowed, Miller didn't go through seasons as a starting QB and Chicago crashes back to earth with a record of 4-12. The Bears would disappear from the playoffs for a few more seasons after that, with the team bursting through a series of starting QBs including Cordel Stewart, Craig Krenzel, Chris Chandler, Chad Hutchinson, Jonathan Quinn, Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman.

These two names are the places where history becomes, as part of the exception to the general rule.

The Bears of 2005 were another one of those Chicago teams with an untested QB (Orton standing for the injured Grossman) and a second-year head coach (Lovie Smith) that was little expected, except for some hints of defensive promises . They started the year 1-3 as Orton played poorly, but then, out of nowhere, they shook off a eight-game winning streak as part of a stretch of 10 wins in the last 12 games of the season. The team once again led the league in defense – even coming more honestly than it did in 2001 – and continued to win, though Orton continued to struggle until Grossman returned in Week 16, Orton was scored in the playoffs in favor of Grossman. But at home in the playoffs against the Carolina Panthers, Grossman did not fare much better than Orton, and the Bears' season ended with a 29-21 loss.

Looking forward to 2006, it certainly seemed that history was repeating itself several years earlier. But the Bears 06 actually returned to the playoffs – and even made it to the Super Bowl before colliding with Patton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts on a rainy Super Sunday in Miami. Although Grossman was a mediocre passer at best, the defense led by Brian Urlacher repeated the top five in points allowed and helped the Bears rarely return after the season before the wheels began to fall in 2007. [19659002] This was the beginning of a new three-year playoff game for the club, but in 2010, the Bears still had Smith as an experienced coach to go with QB Jay Cutler – who was acquired by Denver for Orton and a pick and who had what to prove after an awful debut season in Chicago. Cutler herself was up and down in 2010, but the Bears defense was again great, allowing the fourth-least points in the NFL and the team finishing 11-5. The Chicago playoffs defeated the Seattle Seahawks before losing to the Green Bay Packers at home in a Champions League game that Cutler left early with a knee injury.

Will the Bears return to the playoffs in 2011? Of course they wouldn't. Chicago started 7-3 before Cutler was injured again, and the team went 1-5 down the stretch with a combination of Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown, replacing Cutler under center. The Bears rebounded to 10-6 in 2012, but also became one of the few NFL teams in history to win double-digit games and miss the postseason. After that, they would never win anything better than 8-8 records for the rest of the Cutler era, eventually missing the playoffs in seven straight seasons from 2011 to 2017.

All of which brings us to 2019. , when Chicago had its fifth chance since the mid-1990s to build on an unexpected playoff run with another postseason bid. And probably for the fourth time – 2006 is the only exception – the team will not be able to track the breakthrough. The return rate for the playoffs, after the NFL expanded to its current format in 1990, is 52 percent, and only 42 percent for teams coming out of the off-season a year ago. So you would naturally expect this phenomenon to happen repeatedly to some team. But the Bears do it so often, they have virtually become a poster franchise for the playoff teams that drop off the field next season.

The Bears can't seem to shake the playoffs

In seasons when the Bears moved from the playoffs to, a primary starting QB (with a QB Elo rating) and scoring defensively for this season and next season, 1990-2019

Playoff Season Tracking Season
Years [19659019] QB Starts ELO * Def. Rk From QB ELO * Def. Rk Playoffs?
& # 39; 94 -95 Steve Walsh -16 10th Eric Kramer +47 22nd
& # 39; 01 -02 [19659027] Jim Miller -33 1st Jim Miller -28 25th
& # 39; 05-06 Kyle Orton [19659027] -99 1st Rex Grossman -46 3rd
& # 39; 10 -11 Jay Cutler -31 4th Jay Cutler -8 14th
& # 39; 18 -19 Mitch Trubisky +22 1st Mitch Trubisky -53 4th

* FiveThirtyEight Rolling QB Elo Rating, Mid-Starter, End of Season (Week 11 in 2019)

Source: Pro-Football- Reference.com [19659062] The 2019 team shares some things with Chicago's previous setbacks. Defense, for example, is not as dominant as it was last season – which seems to be a common drawback to these one-time deals for the Bears playoffs. (The legacy of the 85 Bears safety camp is so great for the franchise that it has to constantly try to restore that team's image?) There are many studies that show that quality of defense, although crucial to the success of team, is also extremely variable from season to season, even with talent like Halil Mack on your side. So when your quantum leaps from the unknown in the playoffs always rely on D's dominance, it's no surprise to see a tendency to back down in the coming seasons.

But one interesting difference this year, compared to previous unsuccessful playoff earnings, is in quarterback. Most of the other seasons were involved in Chicago, starting with a low-ranked QB who won despite poor passing. Often these QBs would improve (or be replaced with a better option) in a subsequent bid, but this would not be enough to overcome the protective regression. However, Trubisky entered the 2019 season with an above average QB Elo rating, which can only be said of rebates in 19 bear seasons since 1950 – and only three QBs since 1998 (including Trubisky).

This seems to have been an argument in favor of Chicago's return to the postseason: that the continued development of a 25-year-old youth will provide insurance in the event of a protective slide. But instead, Trubiski's difficult game (he ranks 27th in the QB Elo of the 34 current and / or primary leaders in the league) has halted the Bears' rebuilding process and called into question his long-term future with the team.

We don't know where the Bears are coming from. But even if they bring him back to the postseason, let's say next season, they will have to prove that it's not a one-year miracle – unlike any other Bears playoff run in the last three decades.

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