Where do Bears’ offense, defense rank through 1st quarter of 2021 NFL season?

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The Chicago Bears are exactly where we expected them to be through the first quarter of the 2021 NFL season. Granted, we didn’t expect them to get here the way they did. But we’re here.

Chicago sits at 2-2 through the first four weeks with rookie quarterback Justin Fields now cemented as the starter moving forward and Bill Lazor calling plays, which means the important work can now begin.

But before the Bears kick off their toughest stretch of their schedule, which includes stops against the Raiders, Packers, Buccaneers, 49ers, Steelers and Ravens, we’re looking back at how they fared in the first quarter of action.

Here’s a look at where the Bears offense and defense rank through the first four games of the 2021 season:

Offense

Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, Matt Nagy’s offense has looked the worst it has in four years through the first three games. And I say three games because when Bill Lazor took over play-calling duties in Week 4, there was noticeable improvement. Sure, the offensive line has had its share of struggles, but it was Nagy’s responsibility to put his players in a position to succeed, which he did not.

Still, no matter how you look at it — with the exception of the run game — things were about as ugly as they could be for the Bears offense in the first quarter of the season.

  • 237 yards per game (32nd)

  • 4.1 yards per play (31st)

  • 122.8 rush yards per game (tied-9th)

  • 4.4 yards per rush (11th)

  • 114.2 passing yards per game (32nd)

  • 4.5 yards per pass (32nd)

  • 13.68% sacks per play (32nd)

  • 28.89% third down conversions (32nd)

  • 16 points per game (30th)

The hope is, with rookie Justin Fields cemented as the permanent starting quarterback and Lazor taking over plays, that things change drastically for Chicago’s offense in the coming weeks. Although with the Raiders, Packers, Buccaneers and 49ers on deck, it’s not going to be easy.

Defense

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Bears defense has been far from perfect under new defensive coordinator Sean Desai. But they’ve been standouts in some pretty important areas, including sacks and points per game.

In a twist of fortune, the Bears pass rush has seen a revival this season getting after the quarterback and Chicago has been able to take the ball away, something they struggled with last season. But the run game and secondary have experienced dips in production, which remains concerning heading into a difficult stretch of games.

  • 5.6 yards per play allowed (16th)

  • 4.1 yards per rush (13th)

  • 7.6 yards per pass (25th)

  • 2.40% INT rate (12th)

  • 1.5 takeaways per game (tied-7th)

  • 10.71% sacks per pass (2nd)

  • 15 sacks (1st)

  • 46.15% on third down (26th)

  • 35.71% in red zone (5th)

  • 22.8 points per game (10th)

The Bears defense still has plenty of work to do, but they been an overall solid unit through these first four games. Still, getting off the field on third down remains a problem, and the secondary has been exposed with yards per pass. But Desai has done a great job with this defense, particularly with jumpstarting the pass rush, which leads the league in sacks with 15.

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