It was right there. The turning point Matt Eberflus needed. He hadn’t beaten an NFC North opponent since taking over the Chicago Bears. His team came out playing so well in Detroit, keeping the Lions on their heels and forcing four turnovers. Then, as has too often become the case during his coaching tenure, things went off the rails in the 4th quarter. Chicago held a 26-14 lead. Their offense had just led a nine-minute drive to drain most of the clock. All they needed was a stop or even a long drive from the Lions to seal it. Instead, Eberflus’ defense gave up a touchdown in 1:16.
Sure enough, the collapse began swiftly. The offense ran the ball up the middle twice on first and second down, then missed a long pass to Tyler Scott. Detroit got the ball back and basically ran it down the defense’s throat, capped by a touchdown from David Montgomery with 26 seconds left. Eberflus made it even worse by refusing to use his timeouts trying to preserve more time for the offense. If that weren’t bad enough, he had two 4th and 1 opportunities where he settled for field goal.
It was the latest in a long line of examples where Eberflus coached scared, and his team fell apart.
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Matt Eberflus has nobody to blame but himself.
He got four turnovers and a great performance from his quarterback. All of the things that led to the Lions’ swift comeback can be attributed to his decisions. Passing up touchdown opportunities. Giving up long drives in barely a minute. This team is mentally weak, and that starts with the head coach. It is apparent the Bears are a more talented team. They should’ve beaten the second-best team in the NFC on Sunday. However, their biggest weakness has unquestionably become their coaching staff.
A decision about Fields is a separate matter that remains ongoing. The Bears have seen enough from Matt Eberflus. He’s won six games in his tenure with the team. Two of his losses in 2023 came from epic 4th quarter collapses. There was coughing up the 28-7 lead against Denver, and now this one against Detroit. For all his talk about players needing mental toughness, he doesn’t seem able to get it out of them. Maybe that’s because he doesn’t have it himself. A change is needed, regardless of what they do with Fields.