Cubs News: Eberflus: “We didn’t finish as a football team”

Cubs News: Eberflus: “We didn’t finish as a football team”

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Just when you think the Bears have discovered every possible way to lose, they find another way. At three minutes left in the game, Chicago had a 26-14 lead. By 2:59 left in the game, Detroit scored their first of two touchdowns to make a comeback. The little cherry on top was the safety for the Lions prompted by quarterback Justin Fields’s fumble that went out the back of the end zone.

Going against the division leaders, Chicago held them in check for most of the game. Quarterback Jared Goff finished the game for the Lions with three interceptions; however, the Bears failed to score any points off of turnovers in the first half of the game. That is an area head coach Matt Eberflus identified as an area of improvement, as well as finishing the game.

“The one thing we could have done better in the first half is capitalize on those turnovers and get points, which we did in the second half. We got an interception, a fumble. We capitalized on points and got 10 points off turnovers in the second half,” Eberflus said. “But the main thing is that obviously the disappointment was the finish. We didn’t finish it as a football team. We didn’t finish as coaches, as players, the right way. There’s a lot of plays to be had out there.”

There were some questionable coaching calls. One of them was at the beginning of the fourth quarter with 14:15 left in the game. On fourth and inches, instead of going for the first down, which would have been at the Detroit 22 yard line, they kicked a field goal to take a 23-14 lead. When asked about that decision, Eberflus mistakenly responded about the wrong field goal, which was a fourth and five field goal from the Detroit 21 with 4:20 left in the game.

“We decided (with) fourth and inches, we decided to go ahead and kick that and go up 12 points with a little over four minutes to go,” Eberflus said. “We just needed to execute better from that point.”

While the field goal on fourth and five makes sense, electing to kick on the fourth and inches in the beginning of the quarter is questionable. This call is playing it safe, allowing the Bears to take a two-possession lead. However, their aggressive play calling earlier in the game is what allowed them to get the lead they had. Going away from that aggressive mentality proved costly.

As Eberflus mentioned, there were a number of positive things that occurred in this game. First of all, the Bears defense had four turnovers, their most of the season. Rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson had his first interception while offseason additions, Tremaine Edmunds and TJ Edwards, each had an interception.

Offensively, Fields had his first game of the season with at least 100 yards rushing and he averaged 5.8 yards per carry. He also led the team in attempts with 18. Khalil Herbert, who returned from injured reserve (IR), had 16 attempts but only mustered 35 yards, his lowest in a game he has played since week three against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“The positives are there - to be able to run the ball and take the ball away - that’s something we’ve been hunting, to (take) the ball away and give ourselves good field position,” Eberflus said. “Now, we can learn from that because we didn’t get any points off of it the first half. So, the score could have been a little more.”

This is the eighth loss of the season for the Chicago Bears and they have lost 12 straight games against division opponents; the last nine of those are with Eberflus as the head coach. This is also the second season in a row the Bears have blown a double-digit lead against the Lions. They have also had a 14-game losing streak under Eberflus. However, he claims the adversity will make the Bears stronger.

“We’ve had a lot of adversity as the Chicago Bears, so it’s only going to make us tougher,” Eberflus said. “To me, there’s a lot to build off the game right here and really, the last six weeks you can build off of. We’re going to look at it, we’re going to get better from it and we’re going to move on.”

Next week is yet another division matchup against the Minnesota Vikings next Monday night (7:15 p.m./ABC). Minnesota is currently second in the division and still in contention for the playoffs after losing their starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins, to injury with the emergence of Joshua Dobbs. In addition, wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who was out against the Bears last time, has the potential to return from IR for this game. After that game, Chicago will go on bye.

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