The Chicago Bears had a 26-14 lead over the division-leader Lions late in the fourth quarter. The offense just had a nice minute drive that led to a field goal taking nine minutes off the clock and possessed the ball over 40 minutes. And the Bears defense had been playing lights out, picking off Lions quarterback Jared Goff three times and forced four turnovers, and even Montez Sweat registered his first sack as a Bear.
Justin Fields, who had returned from a thumb injury that sidelined him for the last four games while having to endure Tyson Bagent and a quarterback controversy that really never existed, was balling the entire game. He gained over 100 yards rushing and was making quick decisions with his throws. His big moment came in the third quarter when he stepped up while facing pressure and hit DJ Moore in stride to give the Chicago Bears the lead.
They gave the fans real hope that the Bears were finally going to notch their first win against an NFC North opponent and win consecutively for the first time under Matt Eberflus. This game was going to be the turning point of his tenure and the 2023 Bears season.
Instead, both the Bears' offense and defense unraveled in the final minutes. The team gave up 17 points in the final three minutes and lost 31-26. The loss was the absolute worst possible outcome for both Eberflus and Fields. What was supposed to be the signature victory for both of them, but slipped away thanks to cowardly coaching decisions.
This latest Bears loss falls squarely on the shoulders of Matt Eberflus
The frustrated fans, who have gotten used to the Chicago Bears losing games under Eberflus, even had to be demoralized and apathetic about this latest loss. They dominated on both sides of the ball but still ended up losing. They are frustrated because Justin Fields' effort was completely wasted.
Despite a heroic effort by the defense, they still allowed 8 of 11 third-down conversions. And saw plenty of missed tackles on their final two defensive series, which have become synonymous with the outdated Cover-2 defense that Matt Eberflus continues to deploy.
The biggest indictment of Matt Eberflus as a head coach came following the Lions' touchdown to cut the lead to 26-21 with about three minutes left in the game, which prompted Eberflus to say the Lions moved the ball too quickly so nonchalantly when his defense continues to fail.
After the Chicago Bears received the ball, they ran the ball consecutively with Khalil Herbert up the middle but went nowhere as their defense stuffed them. Setting up 3rd and 9, the Bears went for a kill shot as Fields went deep, and rookie wide receiver Tyler Scott got open, but inexplicably slowed down a bit and the ball went through his outreaching hands. The whole drive took only 14 seconds off the clock.
When the Lions took over, you could sense the epic collapse was about to happen, as Jared Goff and the Lions marched down the field easily and completed an 11-play, 73-yard drive that was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by an ex-Bear David Montgomery, who seems to relish his new home.
To add insult to injury, Justin Fields was sacked by Aiden Hutchinson on the first play of the final possession, who finally overpowered right tackle Darnell Wright. He forced a fumble, and the football was kicked out of the end zone for safety. That was the ball game.
To be honest, what happened in the last 3 minutes of the ball game is not the only reason why the Bears lost. The Bears kept settling for field goals after they took a 20-14 lead. Facing fourth and one at the Lions' 23-yard line early in the fourth quarter, the Bears settled for a field rather than going for it when they have gone twice already and have gotten the first down before. And then on the next drive, facing 4th and 5, they settle for another field goal, making it a two-possession game.
This is what coaching malpractice looks like. The Bears have had way too many similar outcomes under Matt Eberflus. Remember when the Bears blew a 28-7 lead and lost to the Denver Broncos 31-28 less than two months ago? Since then, they are 5-6 including a hard-fought win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football. Plus, the Lions are now 15-4 under Dan Campbell ever since the Bears blew a two-touchdown lead against them a year ago in Chicago.
This game was also a strong indictment that the Bears do not trust Justin Fields. For all the talks about what he could prove the rest of the season, Eberflus and Getsy did not even put the ball in his hand to win the game. It's like they have already made their decision to move on from him, and draft either Drake Maye or Caleb Williams to save their own jobs. Kind of like we saw with Mitchell Trubisky in the 2017 Draft and Justin Fields in the 2021 Draft only to fire the head coach after the season is over. No fan is stupid enough to believe the results will be different this time under them.
As usual, Eberflus stressed a lack of execution, deflecting any sort of accountability on himself and blaming the players. What else is new? And on Monday he displayed his self-absorbed narcissism by bragging about the defense he called against the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers.
Matt Eberflus remained winless against the NFC North for the last two seasons and his record is now 6-22. After a clown show of a news conference he put on today, how could any player even believe in him when he continues to blame them while only wanting to accentuate the positives, especially after a soul-crushing loss while the losses continue to pile up?
The Chicago Bears are no longer actively tanking like last year. The Bears need to show they can win games and Eberflus seems to be focusing on something else other than winning. The Bears fans will have to put up with this for six more games. That is one too many games. The hope now is Ryan Poles and Kevin Warren witnessing another meltdown in front of them along with the arrogant press conference today will push them further into making necessary changes. At some point, enough is enough.
This Bears season hasn't lived up to expectations, but you can turn that around in an instant, at least for yourself, at FanDuel Sportsbook! All you have to do is sign up, deposit $10 and use $5 or more any team's moneyline odds to win in NFL Week 12. If you're right, you'll win $150 in bonus bets. Sign up with FanDuel today!