After watching tape of Sunday's 20-12 road loss to the Giants, Bears coach Matt Eberflus discussed three things that stood out to him:
(1) Eberflus acknowledged that there were some plays on both sides of the ball that didn't embody the "HITS principle" he espouses.
Defensively, the Bears allowed quarterback Daniel Jones to rush for 68 yards and two touchdowns on six carries. Jones' TDs came on carbon copy bootleg runs of 21 and 8 yards, with the quarterback faking a handoff to the right and sprinting back to his left, badly fooling the defense.
"There were a few plays out there yesterday that were certainly that," Eberflus said. "Us not executing. Us not playing the way we do business. And we'll get that cleaned up. Those boot plays by the quarterback, those are certainly things we have to clean up. And then the quarterback keepers on those situational downs, where they do these zone-read quarterback keepers, we've got to do a better job of that as well."
One of the offensive plays that was an issue came when quarterback Justin Fields was sacked and fumbled early in the second quarter. Not realizing it was a live ball, a handful of Bears players failed to hustle after it, enabling Giants pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux to recover the fumble.
Eberflus conceded that it wasn't easy for the offensive linemen to spot the ball, but he revealed that he gave all the linemen and one receiver who were in the area loafs on the play.
"That one's a little bit harder because it's coming from behind," Eberflus said. "Typically when you have a fumble and I'm a defender, we're punching the ball, we're all pursuing the ball, we can see the ball.
"That's a little harder. It's like, 'hey, I'm in pass pro and then all of a sudden this thing drops from the sky, over my head and then it's there.' So I think Cody [Whitehair] was caught off guard, as all the linemen were. [But you've] got to be ready for it and jump on it, and have some reaction there."
(2) Eberflus was pleased with how the Bears performed on special teams, with one exception late in the game.
Rookie Velus Jones Jr.'s muffed punt led to a crushing turnover with 2:01 left to play. But before that, the Bears excelled on special teams. Emergency kicker Michael Badgley made all four field goals he attempted from 29, 22, 40 and 35 yards; Josh Blackwell forced and recovered a fumble on a Giants punt return; and Trenton Gill posted a stellar 51.8-yard net average while placing three of five punts inside the 20, including one that was downed at the 3 late in the game.
"I thought we played really well on special teams yesterday," Eberflus said. "Obviously, the last play on special teams wasn't what we wanted. But up to that point we'd pinned them in there with some kickoffs, we pinned them in there with that punt and I thought the coverage teams [played] really well. The protection was good. The kicking operations were good.
"That's a hat's off to those guys. Those guys put a lot of work in. We made some impactful plays. We caused a fumble and we recovered that, and that was three points for us."
(3) Eberflus would like to see more consistency from the Bears in general and the offensive line in particular.
"I talked to the players about consistency of execution," Eberflus said. "We were executing well at times, but we need to do it more consistently. That was the big message today."
The offensive line's performance epitomized the Bears' inconsistency against the Giants. The Bears rushed for 149 yards on 32 carries but permitted six sacks, including two by defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
"It was good in spots," Eberflus said of the offensive line. "We had good protection at times. But obviously it broke down some in the middle at times. One of their inside rushers had a pretty good day. We have to be firm there. I thought we have to run off the ball better, which we know that. The guys were told that. And also the runners need to press the line better.
"We need to have a better day there. We had a solid day, but we've had really good days the [previous] two games. Our standards are high. We want that from those guys."