Five weeks into the 2018 NFL season, the Chicago Bears have one of the league’s best records following their bye week. Featuring a dominant defense and a promising up and coming offense, the team has a really good chance of making the playoffs. With some playoff contenders, there are teams that are the benefactor of both luck and good fortune when it comes to injuries and game decisions.
Through their first four games this season, the Bears have yet to lose a starter to a season-ending injury. Their two most significant injuries so far have been to back up tight end Adam Shaheen and reserve linebacker Sam Acho, both of whom are on injured reserve. Shaheen could possibly return later this season depending on his recovery from an ankle injury suffered in the pre-season.
While they have been fortunate, their previously faced opponents have suffered the opposite fate when it comes to both health and decisions. In week 2, the Seattle Seahawks were without their top wide receiver Doug Baldwin who was sidelined due to an MCL strain. The Bears won the game 24-17, but the outcome could have been vastly different had Russell Wilson had his best receiving threat in a game where he was sacked six times.
The following week in Arizona, they were lucky from game plan standpoint when they won 16-14 in a come from behind win. The decision was made by Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks who decided to bench quarterback Sam Bradford for rookie Josh Rosen making his NFL debut. It was a highly questionable decision as the Bears defense had forced four consecutive turnovers against the Cardinals offense and sacked Bradford three times.
Rosen was asked to lead a game-winning drive against one of the most efficient and stiffest defenses. His two drives ended with an interception and a sack.
Against Tampa Bay, it was a mix of both injuries and fortune that assisted the Bears in their 48-10 lopsided victory. The Buccaneers had played on short rest as they had played the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night the past week. Tampa Bay was very inexperienced in the defensive secondary as four of their five had two years or less playing experience. Three rookies started in the secondary as Bear quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw for 351 yards and six touchdowns.
As the Bears prepare for their next game against the Miami Dolphins, the health component may be on their side again. The Dolphins have already placed two of their starting offensive lineman on injured reserve with a third in Laremy Tunsil possible out for their next game.
Tunsil suffered a concussion against the Cincinnati Bengals and could be out for their game against the Bears. It would be a huge advantage for a team with 18 sacks through four games going against a quarterback who’s mobility has been limited due to an ACL injury last season in Ryan Tannehill.
Through the first four games, the Bears have been the better team in the majority of their games. Even in their one loss against the Packers, they were a dominant team for two and a half quarters. In the past two seasons, injuries have plagued the Bears as they lost numerous valuable starters to injuries. If they are to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2010, they will need to hope that the good health of their team stays intact.