Bears News: Eberflus proud of win over Vikings, talks increased pressure in backfield
Jay Biggerstaff - USA Today Sports

Bears News: Eberflus proud of win over Vikings, talks increased pressure in backfield

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Coming off their first division win in two years and getting an extra week to recover from injuries, head coach Matt Eberflus and the Bears now prepare for their rematch with the Detroit Lions, a game they should have won the first time around, but they could not finish the game.

On Monday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago finally got over that hurdle.

“I was proud of the way the guys finished last game, and again, that’s in the past, and now we got to look forward, and to me, that’s what it’s about,” Eberflus said. “The NFL’s about finishing in the two-minute, four minute process of the end of the half, end of the games, and we certainly are looking to improve on that.”

Chicago has put themselves in quite a difficult position for any chance at making the playoffs. Because of failing to finish a number of games earlier in the season, the Bears must now win out to have any realistic chance of making the playoffs. While Eberflus acknowledges the season did not start out ideal, there have been a number of improvements throughout the past several weeks.

But, the Bears are still focused on the present instead of looking forward to the future of the season and beyond this season.

“The season didn’t start off the way everyone wanted for sure. But over the last eight weeks, we’ve put some good things out there, and we’re certainly excited about doing that this week,” Eberflus said. “Our focus is, as any time in the NFL, is where your feet are. We got to be focused on this game and this game only to put your best performance out there, and that’s what we’re doing this week.”

One of the things that has improved for Chicago is the defense. They have been generating more pressure on the quarterback and more turnovers in the past few weeks. The trade for edge rusher Montez Sweat is a large part of that, as well as the Bears continuing to get healthy on defense with linebacker Tremaine Edmunds being back the past few weeks.

“Tez is getting more and more comfortable, getting more and more pressures. Our pressure rate’s been up since he’s been in there, and the last few games, it’s been going up. So, we want to continue to improve that,” Eberflus said. “But it’s not just the pressure, it’s the coverage. The coverage has to hold up, give those guys another tick to get home to pressure the quarterback. So, we like where that is right now, and (Tremaine)’s going to continue to improve as he gets back, just like Tez.”

Near misses have been the story of the Bears season, something that has been reflected on defense. Besides having a number of missed interceptions throughout the season, two from cornerback Jaylon Johnson over the last two games, there has also been an issue of missing tackles. Throughout the league, the missed tackle percentage rate is about 7.64 percent. However, the Bears are at 8.5 percent, showing this is another area of improvement for them.

Rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson missed the last game but was adequately replaced by fellow rookie Terell Smith. Eberflus said that it currently seems likely that Stevenson will be available to play against the Lions this coming Sunday (Noon / FOX), but there is a possibility of a rotation between Stevenson and Smith, given how good Smith has been playing.

Both rookies have been putting up good numbers. Stevenson has an interception and one of the lowest missed tackle percentages among the players in the secondary, with 7.6 percent. However, he has allowed a team-high of seven touchdowns, while Smith has yet to allow a touchdown in the seven games he has played in. Further, his missed tackle percentage is less than half of Stevenson’s, and the completion percentage allowed against him is slightly less than Stevenson’s. But, Smith has yet to get an interception this season. Still, it appears the Bears have found themselves another talent in the last day of the draft, as Smith was a fifth-round pick.

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