Matt Eberflus says the Bears need to start faster
|Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 12:00 PM- -|
The Chicago Bears have lost their third game of the season, and have lost their third straight game against the division-rival Minnesota Vikings. The Bears are now sitting at a 2-3 record, third in the division. Head coach Matt Eberflus seems to attribute this to their slow start, saying, “We’ve got to start faster.”
There were a lot of ups and downs in that game, particularly with the Vikings winning 21-3 with seven minutes and 20 seconds left in the first half. But, Eberflus says that they started to develop some momentum right before the half and through the second half.
“The offense came out and scored the field goal, and we started to create some momentum there at the very end of the half. So, we ended up getting a sack and scored a touchdown there before the half. And then the second half, we came out, and I thought we fought and did a nice job. Obviously, the offense did a nice job coming out and scoring the touchdown.”
That touchdown was followed by a failed two-point conversion and another field goal for Cairo Santos. Following that field goal, the Vikings had a 17-play, seven-minute drive that resulted in a touchdown and successful two-point conversion, allowing them to take a 29-22 lead. The Bears did get the ball back with a little over two minutes left, but it was fumbled by second-year receiver, Ihmir Smith-Marsette (who played his first season with the Vikings). This was his first career fumble.
Regarding that final play, Eberflus said that the team was “disappointed” in the finish, but kept going back to having to start faster and play better to finish the game. He specifically singled out the defense.
“Obviously, we needed to start better on defense. We gave up 21 points on the first three drives.” He added that “You have to win (3rd down defensively).” In all fairness to the defense, they were on the field for 36 minutes and 44 seconds, the Bears' second game in a row losing time of possession. In fact, this is the fourth game in the season that the Bears have lost in time of possession. The one time they did not lose in this respect is in their Week 3 victory over the Houston Texans.
Despite the negatives that came out of this game, as Eberflus mentioned, second-year quarterback Justin Fields had a rather decent game and “one of the best of his career.” Statistically, he did achieve the highest quarterback rating in any game of his career with 118.7. His completion percentage of 71.43% was also the highest out of any game that he has started in his NFL career. Furthermore, this was his second game in a row without throwing an interception.
Hopefully, these improvements to the passing game are things that the Fields and the Chicago Bears can improve upon going against the Washington Commanders on Thursday night (7:15 p.m./Amazon Prime). The Bears are still last in passing yards per game, averaging 116.6 passing yards per game. The Commanders are drastically better in this regard, averaging 252.6 passing yards per game.
Rushing-wise, the Bears still have one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL, averaging 157.4 rushing yards per game. This is Washington’s weakness, where they only average 89 rushing yards per game. These teams have some of the worst scoring offenses, with Washington ranking 26th and the Bears 27th in scoring (To be clear, this is not as bad as the Broncos and Colts, who are 31st and 32nd, so football fans should not expect that bad of a game).
The Bears actually have the second-worst rushing defense in the NFL and a decent pass defense, which is at odds with how the Commanders typically run their offense. The Commanders are about in the middle of the pack in both rushing and passing defense.