Most fans thought the true low point of the 2023 season was when the Chicago Bears coughed up a 28-7 lead in the 4th quarter against Denver last month. As always, the NFL found a way to show that there is no such thing as rock bottom in this league. The Bears were the better football team for 55 minutes on Sunday in Detroit. They beat the Lions up on both sides of the ball. Then, with four minutes left and leading 26-14, it all went wrong. A quick Detroit score, a three-and-out, and another Detroit score saw the Bears lose in epic fashion.
Yet the depths of this collapse weren’t immediately appreciated due to the shock. After taking time to evaluate what had just happened, it became clear that head coach Matt Eberflus and company had pulled off something never seen before. Chicago had four takeaways, winning the turnover battle 4-1. Not only that, but the offense controlled the ball for over 40 minutes. According to stat gurus, the accomplishing team won the game each of the 48 times that happened previously since 1932.
Chicago ended that streak.
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The Chicago Bears have soul-searching to do when the season ends.
It is beyond evident changes are needed. This isn’t the first time they’ve watched a winnable game fizzle away in the 4th quarter. It is, in fact, the fourth time since November 13th of last year. That isn’t an isolated incident. This is a trend, and such trends start with the head coach. Eberflus’ decision-making in the second half once again left the door open for the opponent to come back. In this case, his inexplicable soft coverage calls on defense allowed Detroit to march right down the field in barely over a minute to score. Then, he refused to use his timeouts to preserve more time for the offense to respond when it became clear the Lions would score again.
Everything about Eberflus’ run as a head coach speaks to somebody out of his depth. He constantly wilts in the big moments, makes bad in-game decisions, can’t manage the clock, and doesn’t seem to grasp handling personnel. A team always takes on the personality of its head coach. With almost two seasons completed, this is who the Chicago Bears are. They might play hard, but they don’t play smart or know how to finish games.
How many more losses like this one will it take for the team brass to recognize it? We shall find out in a few weeks.