Chicago Bears coach Matt Eberflus spoke with reporters Monday at Halas Hall to review his team’s 31-26 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Ford Field.
Here are four things we heard during that session.
1. Matt Eberflus said coaches are reviewing their responsibilities for the fourth-quarter collapse.
He said that, like players, the coaches take accountability for their missteps. But he declined to provide specific examples, citing a desire not to give too much away to future opponents.
“You always look and say, ‘Should I have called this? Should I have called that? Should I be more aggressive here? Less aggressive there?’” Eberflus told reporters. “If you’re an offensive coordinator or a defensive coordinator, you always look and say, ‘Hey, what would I do better here and how would I grow in this moment?’”
However, Eberflus didn’t seem to second-guess some of the Bears’ key decisions. When asked about three straight run plays that gained 5 yards late in the fourth quarter, he said, “We love those plays we had there.”
After those plays, the Bears settled for a 39-yard Cairo Santos field goal and a 26-14 lead with 4 minutes, 15 seconds to play.
Eberflus said the Bears also liked their decisions to kick field goals rather than go for it on both that play and a fourth-and-1 play earlier in the fourth quarter. The earlier decision was made after Justin Fields was stopped for no gain on third-and-1. Santos made a 40-yarder, and the Bears went up by nine points.
The collapse against the Lions wasn’t the Bears’ biggest of the season. They allowed the Denver Broncos to come back from 21 points down in the second half to win in Week 4.
And while Eberflus contended the Bears showed they can finish games in wins against the Washington Commanders, Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers, Sunday’s loss brought into question whether they can do it against better teams.
“Obviously the last couple series there offensively and defensively, we’ve got to do a better job of finishing,” Eberflus said. “We showed the guys that in the unit meetings and took accountability as players and coaches. That’s a big part of the learning process.
“We just need to do a good job of focusing on that, on individual improvement, on unit improvement and how to finish those games out the right way.”
2. Left tackle Braxton Jones said he was pulled off the field because of a dizzy spell.
Jones was visibly upset when NFL concussion spotters pulled him from the game with the Bears trailing by a point late in the third quarter.
Jones came off the field and was evaluated for a concussion before being quickly cleared to return. While he was shown on the broadcast yelling, “I couldn’t (expletive) see,” Jones said it was just brief dizziness.
He said the frustration came from wanting to be there for his teammates.
“I had rolled and tumbled and I just got up way too quick,” he said. “Just got a little dizzy. I just needed a second. The refs took me off. I was evaluated.
“I was completely fine, honestly. I just think I was tired, needed 10 seconds to re-gather myself, but we didn’t have 10 seconds, obviously. The play clock was going down. Just needed to get off and get evaluated.”
3. Dan Feeney practiced to be the backup center all week.
When Lucas Patrick went out with a back injury, it was Feeney who filled in at center and not 117-game Bears starter Cody Whitehair. Feeney is a seven-year NFL veteran but had played only three offensive snaps this season before Sunday.
The Bears benched Whitehair, who has played guard and center, with guard Nate Davis’ return to the lineup.
“You only can prep one center to back up, and Feeney was the guy to do that,” Eberflus said. “He obviously has experience at that position, and then Cody was going to back up the guard spots. We just felt that was the best continuity at the time.”
Eberflus said the Bears are sending the hit on which Patrick got hurt — after the play had been blown dead — to the league for review.
“I talked to the ref about it, we discussed it and we’ll leave it at that,” Eberflus said. “We’ll see what they say.”
4. Defensive end Montez Sweat’s playing time was the result of a rotation.
Sweat was on the field for 39 snaps, 63% of Bears defensive plays. Eberflus was asked whether they would like Sweat, who signed a four-year, $98 million contract extension earlier this month, to be on the field more, especially during late-game drives.
“For sure we want him out there more, but those guys are rotating,” Eberflus said. “(Defensive line coach Travis Smith) rotates them in and out. Usually, they’re five to seven plays — somewhere in there — during the two-minute drive like that.
“You’ve just got to platoon them and get them in there fresh. And when those lead dogs are fresh, you put them back in. You’ve got to do that because those guys are throwing their fastball every time.”