Bear Down, Nerd Up: Is it time to declare Robert Quinn is back?

This week’s stat breakdown takes a look at Quinn’s hot start

The Bears recorded their seventh straight game with 20 points or more against the Detroit Lions, beating the Lions, 24-14, on Sunday at Soldier Field. It marks their longest such streak against Detroit since 1945-50, according to NFL.com.

It was a much-needed victory after a historically poor offensive performance a week earlier against the Cleveland Browns.

Here are the big numbers and key statistical takeaways from another Bears win over the Lions.

Robert Quinn is the Bears’ best pass rusher right now: Robert Quinn is closing in on quarterbacks faster than anybody on the Bears defensive front.

The 31-year-old outside linebacker has led the Bears in NFL Next Gen Stats’ average separation from the QB metric in three of the team’s four games. The metric measures the physical distance in yards that a pass rusher is from the quarterback when he throws the ball (or gets sacked).

In Sunday’s win over the Lions, Quinn was an average of 3.74 yards away from Lions QB Jared Goff at the time of the throw. That includes Quinn’s one sack. The league average is 4.52 yards.

Quinn’s average was 4.22 yards in Week 3 against Cleveland, 3.88 yards in Week 2 against Cincinnati and 3.93 yards in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams. He has been better than league average each week, and only in Week 2 did Akiem Hicks’ mark a better average among Quinn’s teammates (3.61 yards for Hicks in Week 2).

Quinn fared well in this metric last season, too, but the difference is he’s finishing plays now. He leads the Bears with 4.5 sacks in 2021. Khalil Mack is right behind him with four sacks. That’s about as good a start the Bears could’ve asked for out of them. Both rank in the top 10 in the NFL in sacks (Cleveland’s Myles Garrett leads the NFL with six sacks).

The Bears defense is second in the NFL in sacks per pass attempt (12%), behind only Carolina (12.84%). Their 15 total sacks lead all teams through four games.

Quinn has at least half a sack in every game this season. His last four-game streak with at least half a sack was in 2019, when he did so for six consecutive games as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. His 4.5 sacks is his most through Week 4 since he had five in the first four weeks of 2013. Quinn finished with 19 sacks that year for the St. Louis Rams.

Red zone romp: The Bears defense held the Lions to just one-for-five in the red zone on Sunday. It was a masterful performance for defensive coordinator Sean Desai’s group.

The Lions drove into the red zone on their first three possessions of the game, but came away with no points. They drove to the Chicago 8-yard line, the 5-yard line and the 3-yard line – drawing a little bit closer on each possession. Two lost fumbles and a turnover on downs doomed their first-half red-zone chances.

The Lions became the first team since at least 1993 to have the ball inside the 10-yard line on each of their first three drives and not score a single point, according to NFL.com.

“Whenever you’re able to stop teams from scoring in the red zone, hold them to field goals, that’s going to help your percentage to win,” Bears safety Deon Bush said. “I feel like we hunkered down in the red zone. Everybody got the mentality to keep fighting, to stop them from getting in the end zone, no matter what.”

After the Week 4 performance, the Bears defense now ranks fifth-best in the NFL in the red zone. Opponents are converting at a 35.71% clip. Buffalo, Denver and New Orleans are all tied for first at 33.33%. The Bears also now rank third-best in the NFL defensively in goal-to-go situations. Opponents are converting at a 44.44% clip.

Century mark: There is one team in the NFL that has yet to reach 1,000 yards of total offense through four games. That team is the Chicago Bears.

The Bears rank dead last among the league’s 32 teams with 948 total yards. The Miami Dolphins rank 31st with 1,008. The unbeaten Arizona Cardinals are lightyears ahead with 1,762 yards, leading the NFL.

That mark puts the Bears at 237.0 yards per game. Their 4.1 yards per play ranks 31st (ahead of Miami). They are 29th in first downs per game (16.5) and dead last in third-down efficiency (28.9%).

Four games is a small sample size, and the Week 3 blunder against Cleveland is certainly bringing down those numbers, but these are trends that don’t look promising for the 2021 Bears.

Run David: Bears running back David Montgomery, who suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s game and could be out for several weeks, finished the game with 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Montgomery has recorded at least 60 rushing yards in all five career games against the Lions. That is the longest such streak for a Bears running back against Detroit since Matt Forte had six straight such games between 2010 and 2013.

Sunday’s game was Montgomery’s seventh career 100-yard rushing game. It was his fourth career game with multiple rushing touchdowns.

Montgomery has scored at least one touchdown in eight of the past 10 Bears regular season games. If he is out for several weeks, Damien Williams and/or Khalil Herbert is going to have to find a nose for the end zone.

“We really believe in them and they believe in us,” right tackle Germain Ifedi said. “We work hand in hand. Hopefully David can get back out there as quick as he can.”

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.