Coach Marc Trestman says he considers every game the first in the remainder of the “season,” meaning the Bears approach next Sunday’s game with the New Orleans Saints with a 0-0 record.
For comparison purposes, however, using the time-honored “quarter system” of breaking the season into four four-game chunks makes for a convenient evaluation point of the first quarter-season under Trestman and his staff.
And the early results are fairly impressive:
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The 2012 Bears opened 3-1 on a schedule that included two playoff teams (Green Bay, Indianapolis) and two respectable teams (Dallas, St. Louis) that would finish 15-16-1. The loss was to the Packers.
The current edition also stands 3-1 and with wins over one possible playoff team (2-2 Cincinnati) and two doormats (1-3 Minnesota, 0-4 Pittsburgh), with a loss to playoff-hopeful Detroit.
Through the first four games last season, quarterback Jay Cutler had two strong games with 98-plus passer ratings and a 4:1 TD-to-INT ratio. He had clunkers against Green Bay and St. Louis.
Cutler may have had something of a backslide in Sunday’s 40-32 loss to the Detroit Lions but the net for Cutler under the new coaching staff and with myriad new teammates has to be rated a positive. He posted 90-plus ratings in the three wins, only the second time in his career he has had three straight 90-plusses, followed by an admitted egg-lay in Detroit (65.6 rating). That Detroit stumble, however, was higher than either of his two bad games (28.2 vs. Green Bay, 58.9 vs. St. Louis) in last year’s first quarter.
As bad as Cutler’s passing day in Detroit was, he is still vastly improved in interception rate from last season and has brought the offense up with him.
Based on some of the key measuring points, the 2013 Bears offense has improved in virtually every category:
Yards per game 307.5 352.3
Rush yards/game 101.1 111.5
Pass yards/game 206.5 240.8
Points/game 31.8 27.0
INT % 5.1 (6) 4.1 (6)
Passes/sack 19.5 (13) 24.7