Breakdown: Bears Record vs AFC East
|Thursday, July 9, 2020 10:02 AM- -|
Yesterday, we looked at how the Bears fared against one of the most successful divisions in football the NFC East. Today, we switch gears and head to the AFC where we focus on the AFC East. With the exception of the Patriots over the past 20 seasons, this has been a division longing for success as the rest of the division all had their times to shine. Unfortunately, the Bears haven’t had the best of luck against these teams.
BUFFALO BILLS: The Buffalo Bills were once a dominant franchise and that time came during the late 1980s into the 1990s. It was during that run when the Bills managed to make four consecutive Superbowl’s, walking away winless in all four. Since then, the Bills have just one postseason win (1999), went 19 years without a postseason berth until 2018. Now they have made the playoffs two of the last three years and things are trending up.
This is a series that hasn’t gone on too long, but it is the Bears who hold the slight 8-5 edge. Going back to their first meeting in 1970 and you had the Bears making a 31-13 statement as they not only won the first-ever meeting between the two teams but won five of the first seven. Since the Bills last postseason win in 1999, Buffalo has had much better success against the Bears going 3-3- since 2000, including a 23-20 overtime win at Chicago with Kyle Orton in at QB.
The last meeting between the two came in 2018 when it was all Bears as they dismantled the Bills in Orchard Park 41-9. Chicago relied on a strong defense that forced four turnovers including three interceptions of Nathan Peterman who was filling in for Josh Allen.
NEW YORK JETS: Much like the Bills, the Jets haven’t had much to cheer about as of late, going 10 years since their last postseason win. There is a common theme in the AFC East as each team had success in a specific decade with the Jets taking the 1970’s as that was their lone Superbowl appearance.
This series has been a one-sided affair with the Bears owning a 9-3 lead. After dropping their first even meeting 23-21 in 1974, the Bears took control of things by winning the next four meetings before the Jets were able to take the next two. However, it has now been 20 years since the Jets last beat Chicago as the Bears are currently riding a five-game winning streak including their last meeting back in 2018.
With rookie Sam Darnold in at QB, the Bears defense suffocated him with constant pressure and got a strong performance from Mitchell Trubisky and the running game. That alone was good enough for the Bears to pick up the 24-10 win at home as they were on the verge of a division championship.
MIAMI DOLPHINS: While the Jets dominated the AFC East for most of the 1970s, Miami had there share of success too, but that really turned it on in the 1980s also. Again, those times are long gone as the Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since 2001 and have made the playoffs just twice since 2006.
Unlike the previous teams mentioned above, the Bears have never had the best of luck against Miami and that shows in Chicago’s 4-9 record against them.
You got a sense that this was going to be a tough opponent for Chicago not only dating back to 1971 when the Dolphins won the first-ever meeting 34-3, but the next five meetings following that as Miami won the first four meetings of the series and five of the first six altogether.
After the Bears earned consecutive wins in 1994 and 1997, they have only managed to win one game since 2000 against Miami going 1-4 in their last five. That win came on the road in 2010 when Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and the leg of Robbie Gould backed by a tough defense gave the Bears a 16-0 win. Chicago had the game won in their last meeting in 2018 but allowed the Dolphins to stage a furious comeback to eventually win 31-28 in OT. That loss proved to be the turning point in the Bears season as they got on a nice roll after.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: After not having much success for the longest time, New England has not only been the class of the division for the past 20 seasons but quite possibly the class of the NFL as they have been to eight Superbowls in the past 20 years winning six. The Bears' struggles against New England shouldn’t come as a surprise as they have gone 4-10 against the Patriots, but even worse as of late.
After dropping the first two meetings of the series, Chicago then went on to win the next three, including the biggest game in franchise history when they knocked off New England 46-10 in Superbowl 20. That win seems eons ago as New England has not only won the last five meetings against Chicago but has won eight of the last nine since that Superbowl win.
The last win for Chicago against the Patriots came 20 years ago on a cold December afternoon in Chicago. This was before the Tom Brady era even began as Drew Bledsoe was running the show nearing the end of his career. With Shane Matthews setting a franchise record for consecutive completions, the Bears were able to hold off New England 24-17 and haven’t seen a win since.
Things almost flipped in the Bears favor in the team's last meeting in 2018 however as Chicago had plenty of chances to win the game at home. Whether it was Kevin White coming up one yard or some untimely breaks that went New England’s way, luck was never on Chicago’s side that day. Despite all that, the Bears had their chances before ultimately falling 38-31.
Overall record 25-27: While the Bears had had success against two teams in this series, they have been dominated by two teams also and that is why they have a losing record against the AFC East. When you haven’t beaten a team in 20 years, and have just won over the past 10 against another team that doesn’t bode well for your overall record. Even with all those struggles, the Bears very seldom find themselves getting blown out in any contest.