Presented By Mullin

Proclamations or discussions of whether a team is “good” or not are always amusing. Absolutes rarely exist in the NFL, which is probably part of why only one team has ever made it from Week 1 through a Super Bowl without losing a game.

“Good” is relative, in the truest sense of the word.

The question has never been whether the Bears were good or bad, but rather: compared to what? It really makes zero difference whether the Bears’ 17-14 win was against a depleted Detroit Lions team, or the Bears scoring just 17 points from 408 yards or offense was good or bad. It just was.

It’s reasonable, albeit problematic, to assess whether the Bears are somehow going in a right direction. For what it’s worth, the 11 defensive players with the most snaps in throttling the Lions were all drafted, signed or extended (Willie Young) under the auspices of GM Ryan Pace, and that’s with Eddie Goldman and Danny Trevathan out injured.

Power rankings are genuinely precious. Are the Bears as good as the Arizona Cardinals? Carolina Panthers? New York Jets? No way, no way and no way. And all of them have exactly the same 1-3 record as the Bears. The Indianapolis Colts are 1-3 as well, and they even lost to the Lions.

Actually, 1-3 is apparently some sort of contagion. Six of the Bears’ remaining 12 games are against teams currently 1-3. Two are against 2-2 teams (New York, Washington). The other four are against the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, but the Bears did defeat the Packers on a Thursday night in Lambeau Field last year, when the Packers stood 7-3.


All of which means nothing whatsoever, except that whatever the Bears are or are not, grade them on a curve. Put them in the context of an NFL that has expanded the realm of the possible with things like the Buffalo Bills shutting out the New England Patriots – in Foxborough – and the Dallas Cowboys being within one point of standing 4-0 behind a rookie quarterback drafted in the fourth round, and the Minnesota Vikings losing their quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater), franchise running back (AP) and best offensive linemen (Matt Kalil).

[MORE BEARS: John Fox holding QB decision off until later this week]

All that matters is whether the Bears are better than the 1-3 Colts, and then only for one day. And then be better than the 1-3 Jacksonville Jaguars for another one day.

The Colts haven’t scored fewer than 20 points in any of four games. The Bears haven’t scored more than 17 in any of their four. Bettors installed the Colts as favorites by a handful of points, but those are the same Colts who just cut two veteran defensive starters, including linebacker Sio Moore, who replaced Jerrell Freeman when Freeman signed with the Bears.

What the Bears do organizationally to improve after the season – ranging from getting some draft capital in a trade of Jay Cutler to Pace adding through his third draft and free agency – is another topic.

In the meantime, if the Bears prevail over two other 1-3 teams in the next 11 days, they’ll be .500 for the first time under John Fox, with four other 1-3 teams on the schedule. Only six NFC teams were .500-plus last season and they were all in the playoffs.

“Good” or not. “Good” has never mattered, this season even less than usual.