Bears News: Eberflus on loss to Chargers:

Bears News: Eberflus on loss to Chargers: "It was really simply about fundamentals"

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - After the 30-12 victory against the Las Vegas Raiders last week, it did not seem likely that the Bears would turn around and lose in a nearly identical score of 30-13 in primetime against the Los Angeles Chargers. A lot of things were working against the Bears, part self-inflicted and part referee-inflicted.

As any head coach does, Matt Eberflus is focusing on those self-inflicted and avoidable mistakes that led to this loss.

“The glaring things that stood out to me and what my message was at halftime for the players was we had a lot of penalties that set us back, our guys back on offense, and the operation wasn’t as clean as it needed to be,” Eberflus said. “And then on defense, it was really simply about fundamentals. It was about basics.”

In total, the Bears had seven penalties, which is actually less than they had last week against the Raiders. Undrafted rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent had two interceptions, although he did have another of accurate passes, displaying a decision-making ability that Chicago has yet to see out of third-year quarterback Justin Fields. Still, the offense was struggling to get a drive going while the defense was struggling to stop the Chargers’ drives.

“We didn’t play complementary football as we have the last week and the last couple weeks where we played complementary football together and our last two victories and the takeaways and being on the positive side of that,” Eberflus said. “We were minus one today. So, that also attributed to that.”

Momentum is a huge factor in football. On the first play of the game, Bagent completed a 41-yard pass to receiver Darnell Mooney. Mooney was never touched by the defender and got up and continued with the play. However, the referees eventually stopped the play. This was clearly the wrong decision, as even the announcers acknowledged they were confused as to why the play was stopped. Nonetheless, Eberflus’s reaction was a little more perplexing.

“I (just) told Mooney that he’s got to get up and be convincing,” Eberflus said. “When he gets up, go and that’s what I told Mooney afterward. He just has to get up and go and go house the thing and let them make the decision.”

Personally, I was pretty convinced by Mooney. Further, typically in scenarios such as that, the referees are supposed to let the play continue and then review afterwards if Mooney was in fact touched or not. It was clear from review that he never was, so this could have at least put the Bears in field goal range if not lead to a touchdown. Who knows how different the game could have been if that was called differently.

There was actually another similar play during the Bears’ touchdown drive in the second quarter. Tight end Cole Kmet, who caught all of his 10 targets today (a career-high in receptions), caught a three-yard pass from Bagent at the Chargers’ 14 yard line. Kmet broke a tackle and was headed for the end zone, but the referees ruled forward progress and did not allow the play to continue. Eventually, running back Darrynton Evans would get an 11-yard rushing touchdown to get the Bears on the board. Despite the unnecessary difficulty added by the referees and the end result of the game, Eberflus thought Bagent handled things well given the caliber of the defense he was facing.

“I thought he operated well there because they have some good rushers and they have a way to pressure with their front four and I thought he did a good job checking it down to the back at times and working at Cole (Kmet). I think Cole was 10 for 10 today,” Eberflus said. “But, I thought he did a nice job there and then the interception that he threw to Mooney, I thought that was a good strike there and the other one on the side pocket there, I think we just have to come back to the ball there a little better.”

Chicago is still last in the NFC North. Although with a loss from the Green Bay Packers against the Minnesota Vikings, both of these teams are sitting at only two wins. The Vikings appear to have lost their quarterback, Kirk Cousins, for the season with a torn Achilles. So this division is not the strongest in the league.

Next for the Bears will be to face the New Orleans Saints next Sunday (Noon / CBS), who have shockingly put together a 4-4 record and are tied for first in their division with the Atlanta Falcons. Running back Alvin Kamara has been a workhorse on their team, participating as a dual threat in the running game and receiving game. If the Bears are going to have any chance of bouncing back from this loss and winning against the Saints, they will need to contain Kamara.

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