After the first four games of the season, Khalil Mack looked like the front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year.
An ankle injury slowed down the hype train as his production came back down to Earth, but he still finished the year as one of the NFL’s top play-makers at the outside linebacker position.
His 12.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, four pass breakups and one pick six weren’t enough to beat out Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald for the DPOY award, but Mack did earn some consideration.
Donald led the league with 20.5 sacks this year, which was 4.5 sacks more than J.J. Watt in second place. Only six players in NFL history have had more sacks in a single season than Donald did in 2018.
Watt also finished the season with more sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles than Mack, but he did not receive a vote for Defensive Player of the Year.
Mack’s production in Assistant Coach of the Year Vic Fangio’s defense was something Chicago hadn’t seen for nearly a decade. Even without the award to show for it, his future remains bright under new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.
Bears fans and NFL analysts may have cooled on Chicago's chances of winning Super Bowl 54, but after two weeks of uninspiring offense and a 1-1 record, their Super Bowl odds have actually improved.
The Bears entered Week 2 with 20:1 odds of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February. After Eddy Pineiro's game-winner against the Broncos Sunday, Chicago's odds are now 16:1.
Granted, injuries around the NFL have played a part -- a big part -- in the Bears' jump. Most notably, the Saints' loss of Drew Brees for at least six weeks following surgery to repair a torn ligament in his throwing thumb dropped New Orleans from 8:1 down to 20:1.
Other teams who began Week 2 with better Super Bowl odds than the Bears only to sink below them at its conclusion are the Chargers (20:1) and Vikings (20:1).
As for the rest of the NFC North? The Packers' odds improved from 16:1 to 12:1, while the Lions jumped from 100:1 to 66:1.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Bears' kicker Eddy Piñeiro was named NFC special teams player of the week today.
This probably had something to do with it:
Piñeiro's Sunday in Denver also included makes from 40 and 52. He's now 4-4 on FG attempts on the year, and is the only kicker in the NFL who has a 100% completion rate from 50+ yards (2/2).
Per a Bears press released, Sunday was marked the first time a Bears kicker made two 50+ yard field goals in the same game since Week 12 of the 2011 season at the Raiders.