What Can Keep the 2024 Bears from Contending? Just the Sacks, Ma’am.

| May 17th, 2024

In February of 2019, the New England Patriots won the most boring Super Bowl game ever played, snoozing the nation with a 13-3 victory over a then dramatically overmatched, and now Scrooge McDuck-esque wealthy Jared Goff. That Pats team defied the statistical odds, specifically in one category: they were one of the league’s worst pass rushing units, finishing the regular season T-30 in sack total.

Sacks, many argue, are an overrated statistic. I do not endorse this argument. Pressure is great, numerically. But pressure doesn’t hurt. Pressure doesn’t lead to a frightened quarterback putting the football on the turf inside his own ten. Pressure doesn’t sideline your rival’s quarterback for multiple weeks in the stretch run. The threat of violence from a street corner bully can be incredibly effective, but your relationship to him is dramatically altered once he’s socked you in the jaw.

Since that New England Super Bowl dud, here are the regular season sack rankings of the Super Bowl champions:

2019 Chiefs: 11th.

2020 Bucs: T-4.

2021 Rams: 3.

2022 Chiefs: 2.

2023 Chiefs: 2.

Sack the quarterback, win the chip. The 2023 Bears were 31st in the sport, 30 sacks behind the league-leading Baltimore Ravens. So, what has to change? A significant amount.

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