Ranking Every Bears’ Defense Since 2010

13th: 2013
Yards/Game: 394.6
Pass Yards/Game: 233.1
Rush Yards/Game: 161.4
Touchdowns Allowed: 47
Takeaways: 28
Sacks: 31

By far the worst Bears defense over the last 15+ years. They gave up more touchdowns than any Bears defense on this list and couldn’t stop a run play if the offensive line was five Sam Mustiphers. This was the first season without Brian Urlacher and with guys like Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, and Julius Peppers getting up there in age the defense was slow.

12th: 2022 (13 games)
Yards/Game: 350.5
Pass Yards/Game: 204.2
Rush Yards/Game: 146.3
Touchdowns Allowed: 45
Takeaways: 15
Sacks: 16

If it weren’t for trading away Robert Quinn and Roquon Smith, this year’s defense would most likely find itself a few spots higher on this list. But ever trading the two away, this defense has been among the league’s worst. Despite playing only 13 games to this point, the defense has already allowed more rushing yards than eight other defenses on this list. There hasn’t been a Bears defense that causes as little pressure as this one. Causing three pressures in a game seems good for this D-line.

11th: 2014
Yards/Game: 377.1
Pass Yards/Game: 264.4
Rush Yards/Game: 112.7
Touchdowns Allowed: 46
Takeaways: 24
Sacks: 39

This was the start of rebuilding for the defensive success that would eventually come a few years down the line. Tim Jennings and Lance Briggs were the final two defensive players remaining from the Bears’ 2010 NFC Championship run. The run defense was significantly improved from 2013 but the defense still struggled not to give up points. Most notably this defense is known for the Sunday Night Massacre after giving up 42 points in one half to the Green Bay Packers.

10th: 2016
Yards/Game: 346.8
Pass Yards/Game: 224.9
Rush Yards/Game: 121.9
Touchdowns Allowed: 40
Takeaways: 11
Sacks: 37

Though this defense continued to struggle, the pieces were coming together in the rebuild. After adding Danny Trevathan, Akiem Hicks, Leonard Floyd, and Nick Kwiatowski there was still a lot of work to be done but future success was in place. The major downfall of this team was the fact that they were completely incompetent when it came to taking the ball away, posting the least amount of takeaways than any defense on this list.

9th: 2015
Yards/Game: 345.4
Pass Yards/Game: 224.6
Rush Yards/Game: 120.9
Touchdowns Allowed: 40
Takeaways: 17
Sacks: 35

There isn’t too much to say about this defense. Adrian Amos and Eddie Goldman made their way onto the scene. Lance Briggs and Tim Jennings had also played their last games with the Bears so this was now a completely new group with a lot to look forward to.

8th: 2020
Yards/Game: 344.9
Pass Yards/Game: 231.6
Rush Yards/Game: 113.4
Touchdowns Allowed: 39
Takeaways: 18
Sacks: 35

Just one of three defenses to lead the Bears to the playoffs on this list, the 2020 Bears were the beginning of the end for the late 2010s stretch of defensive dominance. With there being no consistency at QB as Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles switched roles all season, this defense did a pretty solid job with what they were given.

7th: 2021
Yards/Game: 316.7
Pass Yards/Game: 191.6
Rush Yards/Game: 125.1
Touchdowns Allowed: 45
Takeaways: 16
Sacks: 49

After losing Kyle Fuller and with Khalil Mack being injured for the majority of the season, the 2021 defense did an excellent job of quickly recovering. That was largely in part due to Robert Quinn breaking the Bears’ sack record and Jaylon Johnson emerging as a true CB1. This is the only Bears’ defense on this list to allow under 200 passing yards per game and they got the 2nd most sacks.

6th: 2011
Yards/Game: 350.4
Pass Yards/Game: 254.1
Rush Yards/Game: 96.4
Touchdowns Allowed: 32
Takeaways: 31
Sacks: 33

This was one of three defenses on this list to allow under 100 rush yards per game. Brian Urlacher, Charles Tillman, and Lance Briggs all reach 100 tackles on the season and the defense as a whole produced 86 tackles for loss. Running the ball against the guys was a nightmare but the pass defense is what held this defense back from being top 3 on this list.

5th: 2019
Yards/Game: 324.1
Pass Yards/Game: 222.1
Rush Yards/Game: 102
Touchdowns Allowed: 33
Takeaways: 19
Sacks: 32

After Vic Fangio left for Denver and Bryce Callahan and Adrian Amos left there were a lot of questions about how the Bears’ defense would adapt. Though there was a clear drop-off in defensive production, this was still one of the elite defenses in the NFL. Sacks and takeaways were a problem at times but overall this was a defense that could’ve been Super Bowl caliber had the offense been better.

4th: 2017
Yards/Game: 319.1
Pass Yards/Game: 211
Rush Yards/Game: 108.1
Touchdowns Allowed: 28
Takeaways: 22
Sacks: 42

The most underrated Bears’ defense on this list. They were good against the run and the pass, didn’t allow a lot of points, forced turnovers, and are third in sacks on this list. They were truly a star player away from being the best defense in the NFL. Kyle Fuller, Adrian Amos, and Eddie Jackson were an elite trio in the secondary while Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman ate interior linemen alive. This defense is what kept the Bears from winning two games in 2017.

3rd: 2010
Yards/Game: 314.3
Pass Yards/Game: 224.3
Rush Yards/Game: 90.1
Touchdowns Allowed: 28
Takeaways: 35
Sacks: 34

Despite being third on this list, the 2010 Bears’ defense is the only one on the list to take the Bears past the wildcard. If it weren’t for Caleb Haine throwing a pick 6 with four minutes left in the NFC championship, the Bears would have most likely played in Super Bowl XLV. Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Julius Peppers, and all other defensive starters were playing some of their best football this year. The is undoubtedly one of three Bears defenses on this list to deserve a Super Bowl win.

2nd: 2012
Yards/Game: 315.6
Pass Yards/Game: 213.9
Rush Yards/Game: 101.7
Touchdowns Allowed: 25
Takeaways: 44
Sacks: 41

The first half of the 2012 Bears season was debatably the most fun team to watch as they got out to a 7-1 start. In three of the first six games, the defense allowed 7 or fewer points. Tim Jennings led the NFL in interceptions, the defense produced more takeaways than touchdowns allowed, and they allowed fewer yards per play than any other defense on this list. This is the best defense not to make the playoffs and could’ve willed the Bears to a deep playoff run.

1st: 2018
Yards/Game: 299.7
Pass Yards/Game: 219.7
Rush Yards/Game: 80
Touchdowns Allowed: 27
Takeaways: 36
Sacks: 50

No surprises here, debatably the best defense of the 2010s and the defense that every Bears fan misses. There is so much to say about this defense that sometimes was better at scoring than most NFL offenses. They’re the only defense on this list to allow under 300 yards per game, under 90 rush yards per game, and accumulate 50 sacks. Khalil Mack took every left tackle’s dignity away as he threw them into their own QB or five feet in the other direction. Eddie Jackson was the most electrifying player in the NFL, Kyle Fuller led the NFL in interceptions, and Adrian Amos laid the hit stick on every wide receiver he came across. If only the Bears’ season didn’t end in heartbreak because of he who shall not be named then there was a very real possibility that the Bears could’ve hoisted the Lombardi for the first time in 33 years because of this defense.
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