Bears News: Eberflus on Fields-Moore chemistry going into season finale

Bears News: Eberflus on Fields-Moore chemistry going into season finale

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - One final game for head coach Matt Eberflus and the Chicago Bears this season and that game has important implications. For Chicago, they are trying to defeat their biggest rival and for the Green Bay Packers this coming Sunday (3:25 p.m./CBS), they are trying to make the playoffs.

However, Eberflus has maintained that preventing their rival from making the playoffs is not their motivation to win this game.

“We’re going to keep it about us,” Eberflus said. “There’s always that factor of, ‘Hey, there’s an important game for them’ for sure (and) an important game for us for sure and we’re going to leave it at that. It’s a rival and we’re excited about going up there and playing some football.”

Offensively, the Bears will need another big game from wide receiver DJ Moore to win this season finale. Moore has 1,300 receiving yards this season, currently the fifth most out of any Bears receiver in single season history. Going into this game, he is averaging 81.3 yards per game, a career high for him. Essential to Moore’s performance has been the chemistry between him and quarterback Justin Fields.

Both seem to be helping each other, although finally having some consistency at quarterback throughout the season had to be refreshing for Moore as that was not a common occurrence with the Carolina Panthers.

“They work in the locker room, work in the meetings and just the continuity of what we’re looking for in terms of the routes and DJ’s very detailed in that manner,” Eberflus said. “I think Justin’s really helped him out in that way in terms of what we’re looking for based on the coverages and based on the looks.”

Of course, success starts up front. The offensive line has been an issue for some time for Chicago. However, their first-rounder right tackle Darnell Wright has certainly improved throughout the season. Particularly for a rookie, he has gotten a lot of playing time playing on every offensive snap thus far this season and even some action on special teams. Despite the improvements throughout this season, Eberflus states that the biggest jump Wright will make will be going into his second season.

“He’s just continuing to work and he’s going to get better and better and better and, like we said, you play these young guys and you play him and you get all those reps,” Eberflus said. “Our biggest jump we’ll see with him is in year two.”

While Fields, Moore and the rest of the offense should be able to take advantage of Green Bay’s inconsistent defense who just gave up 30 points to the Carolina Panthers two weeks ago, Chicago’s defense will need to play its best once again to tame Packers’ quarterback Jordan Love and their young receiving core.

Reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Week Tyrique Stevenson will be key in that. While the rookie cornerback did not make the Pro Bowl like fellow corner Jaylon Johnson, Stevenson has made numerous plays in the past few weeks, with three interceptions in as many weeks.

He is another rookie expected to make a big jump in year two and there are a lot of positives Eberflus identified in Stevenson, particularly his aggressive play style and size.

“He’s an aggressive player and he tackles well. That’s an important aspect and he’s long. He’s lean, he’s long, he’s got good lean mass so he can really tackle well. He can tackle big backs. You can see that,” Eberflus said. “He knocks them back and that’s the number one thing I like about him and then the length in the pass game. When you’re covering deep routes and side pocket throws, that length matters … I love his attitude and I love his demeanor that he brings to the game every week.”

However, the massive turning point for Chicago’s defense was the trade for edge rusher Montez Sweat, who is the other Chicago Bear named to the Pro Bowl this season besides Johnson. For Sweat, this will shockingly be his first Pro Bowl appearance despite being a constant presence in the backfield throughout his career. This season, he does have his highest sack total, however, with 12.5 between his time with Washington prior to the trade and now with the Bears. His six sacks with Chicago leads the team this season with defensive tackle Justin Jones second with 4.5 sacks; 3.5 of those came after the acquisition of Sweat, showing how key he is to providing other players with opportunities.

However, that attribute extends to the backfield.

“It creates a pressure player from the front and when you have that, then you’re able to play coverage, then you can vary your coverages and you can make them look different and disguise them and I think it’s very hard for the quarterback,” Eberflus said. “So, when you have that pressure player from the front and you’re not bringing it from the second level, that certainly helps out any defense. But, certainly Tez has been wonderful to have and he’s helped out the whole organization.”

Turnovers will be essential to this victory. The Bears lead the NFL in interceptions with 22 with 16 coming over the past six games. Green Bay is 1-6 this season when Love throws at least one interception. In addition, the Packers are winless since 2022 when losing the turnover margin by two or more turnovers.

Chicago has won the turnover margin by two or more in four of the last six games. Further, the past three times the Bears have won the turnover margin by two or more, they have also won the game; two of those victories were against division opponents.

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