Bears News: Matt Eberflus on the

Bears News: Matt Eberflus on the "Tez Factor", elite season from TJ Edwards

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - With the Bears winning against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night and the Green Bay Packers losing five of their six games after dropping another game this week to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFC North has gotten a bit interesting, especially with the performance from the defense against Carolina.

Starting out the season with four losses, things seemed to be continuing to get worse for the Bears. Now, they have won three of their last six, traded for edge rusher Montez Sweat, and Sweat is making quite the impact so far.

Head coach Matt Eberflus referred to Sweat’s impact as the “Tez factor” when speaking with the media Friday.

“The Tez factor is a pretty cool thing to see,” Eberflus said. “He had eight quarterback pressures or hits (Thursday), and you could feel him force those incomplete passes, the hits on the quarterback, and that certainly has an effect on the passing game.”

Another addition that has been making an impact all season is linebacker TJ Edwards. Against the Panthers, he set a franchise record for the most tackles by a single player through 10 games with 112. He also leads the league currently in tackles, potentially putting him in a position for his first-ever Pro Bowl or All-Pro selection.

Injuries were a key issue earlier in the season, particularly on defense. Cornerback Kyler Gordon was one player of many who missed time due to injury. However, he has now returned for Chicago, and Eberflus has been satisfied with his dynamic play-making ability, especially at such an important position in his scheme.

“(Gordon)’s dynamic. In our scheme, there’s been some good nickels that have really taken over the game and done a good job as of recent too. But, that’s an important position,” Eberflus said. “Those guys are right in the middle of the action. They’re right in the middle of the passing game because they’re on the strong side of the formation there, and there’s a lot of action there.”

Chicago accomplished another feat in their game against the Panthers - no sacks allowed nor offensive turnovers. Further, the defense did not allow an offensive touchdown as the only touchdown scored by the Panthers was on special teams.

That combination had not been something the Bears have been able to do since 1998.

“Another number is zero sacks, zero turnovers, and zero offensive TDs allowed, first time since (1998) here at the Bears. So, those are good numbers,” Eberflus said. “When you allow zero sacks and zero turnovers, that’s a winning formula for really winning football.”

Players were reaching milestones all over the place, including special teams. Kicker Cairo Santos is arguably having the best year of his career thus far as he has only missed two kicks - one field goal and one extra point - all season. Further, against the Panthers, he made field goal No. 200, which ranks No. 11 in the NFL among active kickers.

His field goals were paramount for Chicago to be able to pull out the victory, as the offense only put up one touchdown the entire game.

“Him hitting the milestone of the number 200 (field goals made) is big and obviously, the long of 54, making that back-to-back like that really shows us his growth and his leg strength is improving in this part of his career,” Eberflus said.

The Bears will be put to the test in their next game against the division-leading Detroit Lions (Noon / FOX) with the elite duo of receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and tight Sam LaPorta, in addition to getting former Bears running back David Montgomery back from injury. This game will be pivotal in determining if Chicago has any chance at getting to the playoffs.

Going to the playoff may sound like an unattainable goal. However, both sides of the ball have been playing better in the absence of quarterback Justin Fields the past few weeks. The defense in particular, is finally coming into form now that a number of starters are back from injury. In the conference, entering week 10, the Minnesota Vikings held the last seed in the playoffs.

While the Bears are technically in last in the division, being half a game behind the Green Bay Packers, getting to the playoffs is still technically possible. Further, Chicago may be able to accomplish that while getting the No. 1 overall seed in the draft since they have the Panthers’s first-round pick. At the very least, it is something to keep an eye on throughout the rest of the season, especially since two of the Bears’ three wins occurred with rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent at the helm.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Ariana Pensy: Email | Comment
Post your comments!