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After Further Review

3 things that stood out to Eberflus in Week 14 win

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After watching tape of Sunday's 28-13 win over the Lions at Soldier Field, Bears coach Matt Eberflus discussed three things that stood out to him in the game:

(1) The "Tez Effect"

The Bears have shown across-the-board improvement on defense since acquiring defensive end Montez Sweat Oct. 31 from the Commanders, and Sunday was no different. The fifth-year pro registered five tackles, 1.0 sack, a season-high four quarterback hits and one pass breakup. Sweat fueled a defense that shut out the Lions in the second half—enabling the Bears to rally from a 13-10 deficit—and held Jared Goff to a 54.6 passer rating that was his lowest in a game since 2020.

Sweat has recorded 3.5 sacks in five games with the Bears, increasing his season total to 10.0, the first time he's reached double digits since entering the NFL with Washington in 2019. The defense has recorded 11 sacks in his five games after being limited to 10 sacks in eight contests without him. In addition, the Bears have generated 11 takeaways in their last three games after mustering nine in their first 10 contests.

"It's an uptick because of a great pass rusher," Eberflus said. "That's what he is. [Offenses] have to lean more attention to him. You saw yesterday they were chipping him several times, which gives singles to other guys."

One example of the Tez Effect came late in the fourth quarter Sunday when Sweat shoved Lions left guard Jonah Jackson toward the middle of the field, providing fellow defensive lineman Justin Jones with a clear path to sack Goff.

"It was a pick by Tez and J comes around and has a nice sack on the last one there, which was great," Eberflus said. "That's attributed to [Sweat]. He's going to pick for his teammate when he was going to get that chip on that last one. He's been a consummate pro. He definitely helps others. It's been an uptick in a lot of ways, from the turnovers. It enabled us to play more coverage and not [blitz] as much on those situational downs and get home with four."

(2) Justin Fields continued to make impact plays on the ground and through the air.

The Bears quarterback produced two highlight-reel touchdowns in the second half to snap a 13-13 tie. Fields rifled a 38-yard TD pass to DJ Moore—turning a free play after the Lions had jumped offsides into a game-changing score—before scrambling for an 11-yard TD on third-and-goal that gave the Bears a two-score lead.

Fields completed 19 of 33 passes for 223 yards and an 88.3 passer rating and rushed for 58 yards on 12 carries while leading an offense that did not commit a turnover. In his previous three starts against the Lions, he rushed for 104, 132 and 147 yards.

Fields demonstrated his unique escapability and rare athleticism on the Bears' second drive of the game when he was seemingly boxed in the pocket inside his own 5 on third-and-eight from the 11. Somehow, he eluded two defenders and scrambled up the middle for a 19-yard gain, sustaining a drive that resulted in Cairo Santos' 46-yard field goal that gave the Bears a 10-0 lead.

"He's done a really good job of late of looking down the field to be able to deliver some passes down the field, which is cool," Eberflus said. "The next dimension is … the ability to escape. He's so strong and he's got strong lowers and he's got great contact balance, as I said a lot of times with DJ. He has that as well.

"He has the ability to put it on guys for 19 yards, or as you saw last year, even more than that. We're excited about where he is with that, in terms of the first phase of that, looking downfield to complete the passes, and the second phase, when it's not there in situational ball, to make it happen."

(3) Safety Jaquan Brisker delivered a career-best performance.

The 2022 second-round pick from Penn State was all over the field, registering 17 tackles, the most by an NFL defensive back this season and the most by a Bears defensive back since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger.

Brisker amassed 13 solo tackles and four assists and also broke up two passes and forced a fumble by running back Jahmyr Gibbs that rolled out of bounds.

"He was beating guys to the punch," Eberflus said. "I love his aggressiveness. He was dropping in from the higher part of the field to be in single high or just coming down from a shell, whatever shell coverage we're playing. And being able to react to the run that way, did a good job with that. His instincts and his passion really showed up. That's who he is. He's an aggressive guy. He does a really good job tackling. His instincts are elite. He does a really good job with that."

Brisker, who ranks third on the Bears and first among defensive backs with 80 tackles, also excels at firing up his teammates and the home crowd, celebrating impactful defensive plays and waving his arms to encourage fans to make noise.

"He does bring that," Eberflus said. "He's passionate. It's always exciting to watch him do that. He's always right next to me when we do the national anthem. We always lock arms. I can feel his energy. He's a special guy."

Check out the best images—taken by Bears photographers—from Sunday's 28-13 victory over the Lions at Soldier Field.

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