After a 5-11 season in 2017, the Chicago Bears ended the John Fox experiment and handed over the head coaching reins to Matt Nagy, former Kansas City offensive coordinator. The Bears headed into 2018’s bye week with a 3-1 record but promptly lost their next two games to Miami and New England. That was the old Bears. The new Bears took over in Week 8.
Behind an extremely physical defense, the Bears would go on to win nine of their final ten games, finish 12-4, and win the NFC North for the first time in a long time. Defensive end Khalil Mack finished the season with 12.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss, and a touchdown which he returned for a touchdown.
Mack led a Bears defense that led the NFL in points allowed per game. Chicago allowed opponents just 17.7 points a game. It wasn’t just defense though that led to the Bears’ success. Jordan Howard (935 yards) finished just 65 yards short of a 1,000-yard season. The dynamic Tarik Cohen totaled over 1,100 total yards and eight touchdowns and second-year QB Mitchell Trubisky completed over 66 percent of his passes for 3,223 yards and 24 touchdowns.
A five-game Chicago win streak was stopped by the New York Giants, who beat the Bears 30-27 in overtime. The Bears rebounded with what was likely the high point of the 2018 season. Chicago stopped the streaking Los Angeles Rams dead in their tracks behind an outstanding performance by the Bears defense.
The Rams, one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses, were held to just 214 yards by the Bears. Chicago’s defense forced four Los Angeles turnovers, all on interceptions of quarterback Jared Goff. The Bears would go on to finish the season with four straight wins and earn the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs.
Chicago’s worst moment of the season would follow in a 16-15 loss to Philadelphia in the Wild Card round. The Bears had been outplayed for most of the game by the Eagles but needed a fourth-quarter Cody Parkey field goal and a Trubisky to Allen Robinson 22-yard touchdown pass to take a 15-10 lead late in the game.
The Eagles would take the lead with just 56 seconds to play on a Nick Foles to Golden Tate touchdown pass. Ahead 16-15, Philadelphia did allow Chicago to get in range for a Parkey field goal attempt. Parkey, who used to kick for the Eagles, nailed what looked like the game-winner but Philadelphia had called timeout before the kick. What happened next ended the Bears season. Parkey’s kick hit the upright and then bounced off the crossbar sending the Bears home for 2018.