There have been some bright spots in a season of disappointment for the Bears, and three players shined enough to earn Pro Bowl nods Tuesday.
Outside linebacker Khalil Mack, safety Eddie Jackson and special-teamer Cordarrelle Patterson were picked based on voting by fans, players and coaches.
Despite his standing in the league, Mack was the biggest question mark for the Bears because he’s having one of the quietest statistical seasons of his career. He has 7½ sacks with two games left, putting him at risk of failing to reach double digits for the first time since his rookie season.
He’s coming off a game in which he did not have any statistics until a tackle for loss on the Bears’ last defensive snap in a loss to the Packers, reminiscent of his zero-stats game against the Rams a month ago.
“You’d love to be able to see that stat sheet where he’s all over it all the time, [but] I don’t know how real that is all the time,” coach Matt Nagy said Monday. “Sometimes we go by these stats and we talk about, ‘You have to have all these stats all the time,’ to talk about what kind of player you are. I don’t know if I necessarily believe that all the time.
“They’re running away from you or they’re chipping you or they’re doing some check at the line of scrimmage. That’s gonna happen. That’s never gonna change for the rest of his career.”
Jackson is coming off an All-Pro season and is arguably the best young safety in the league.
Patterson, a wide receiver and running back, has made his name as a kick returner and gunner. He had a 102-yard kick return for a touchdown against the Saints.
The NFL also announced that cornerback Kyle Fuller, running back Tarik Cohen and defensive lineman Eddie Goldman are Pro Bowl alternates.
Fuller doesn’t have the gaudy interception total he put up as an All-Pro last season but has been every bit as good. He is an unquestioned lockdown corner, and teams are usually averse to throwing his way. He has three interceptions, 12 pass breakups and 72 tackles.
The harshest snub was wide receiver Allen Robinson. He consistently delivered, has been by far the Bears’ best offensive player and is the team’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
Robinson has 83 catches (sixth in the NFC), 1,023 yards (10th) and seven touchdowns (ninth) despite the Bears ranking 21st in the NFL in passer rating.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson led the Pro Bowl voting and will be joined on the AFC roster by quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, who were bypassed by the Bears in the 2017 draft to take Mitch Trubisky.