LAKE FOREST – Bears coach Matt Eberflus said he showed clips to his team Monday morning from Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that were segmented into different parts. Part of the clips included missed opportunities the Bears could’ve made to win the game.
Eberflus talked about some of those plays and how he wants the Bears to improve when he met the media Monday afternoon at Halas Hall. Here are the biggest takeaways from Eberflus’ assessment.
On missed opportunities
Many of the clips Eberflus showed were of missed chances to take control of the game. Whether it was missed interceptions, not recovering the football after a caused fumble, not finishing sacks and tackles or making productive plays when the Buccaneers’ defense let them, Eberflus thought there were plenty of moments for the Bears to take control of a game that was there for the taking.
“Everyone is held accountable to make those opportunities count,” Eberflus said. “We have to do a better job as a group seizing those opportunities because those could swing the game for sure.”
Creating pressure on Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield was one of the biggest challenges the Bears defense experienced Sunday. The Bears couldn’t complete a couple of opportunities to sack Mayfield despite making contact with Mayfield and ended the game with no sacks, one quarterback hit and four tackles for loss.
Mayfield looked like the old quarterback the Cleveland Browns drafted No. 1 overall in 2018. He threw for 317 yards and one touchdown, the most yards he’s thrown since Week 1 of the 2021 season.
Eberflus said he knew what the Bears need to do in order to finish getting to the quarterback.
“It’s about guys knowing what to do and knowing how to do it,” Eberflus said. “That’s on the coach and the players.”
On Justin Fields finding consistency
Eberflus thought Justin Fields showed off growth against the Buccaneers, but Eberflus is looking for his quarterback to do it more consistently.
“You can see his operation is better with the offense, you can feel that,” Eberflus said. “We’re searching for consistency, to be able to create those explosive plays, get the ball to [D.J. Moore], to [Chase Claypool].”
Fields showed just how good of a quarterback he can be during the Bears’ two touchdown drives. On the first drive of the game, the Bears ran what appeared to be a flawless six-play, 75-yard drive down the field that included two passes to Moore for more than 30 yards. In the fourth quarter, the Bears went 90 yards down the field on a drive where Fields made impressive throws, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Claypool.
But Eberflus is looking for more than two drives. Fields threw a pick six from the Bears’ 6 on the team’s second-to-last drive and then another interception on the team’s last drive.
“Everyone is held accountable to make those opportunities count. We have to do a better job as a group seizing those opportunities because those could swing the game for sure.”— Matt Eberflus, Bears coach
It’s up to Fields to make the improvements to be more consistent.
“You see flashes, you see improvement, you see that,” Eberflus said. “You see the ball delivered down the field yesterday, those are all positive things. You just want to see consistency with that. Take what the defense gives you, long ball, whatever the shot is there, whatever that route might be, and if it’s not there, then work on your progressions.
“It’s just about the consistency.”
On team morale after 0-2 start
Eberflus quickly dismissed any questions of whether the team’s morale needed to be addressed after an 0-2 start and 12th straight loss for the franchise going back to last season.
“We are steadfast, we are straightforward, and we are all in this together,” Eberflus said. “Coaches, players, we are looking at a great Wednesday practice and looking at Kansas City.”
The Bears are in a tough spot that could get even worse with a game set at the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Bears are one of seven teams that started the season 0-2 entering Monday night.
Eberflus continues to remain positive about his team’s development.
“We’ve improved from Week 1 to Week 2, we’re going to improve to Week 3,” Eberflus said. “That’s all we’ve got our eyes on right now.”