After watching tape of Sunday's loss to the Buccaneers in Tampa, Bears coach Matt Eberflus discussed three things that stood out to him in the game:
(1) Eberflus felt that the Bears created opportunities on both sides of the ball but failed to take advantage of them.
The first thing that Eberflus did in his Monday morning meeting with players was show them clips of the missed opportunities.
"What I mean is the interceptions, the caused fumbles that we had that we didn't get, sacks that we've got to do a better job of tackling, of getting guys behind the line of scrimmage," Eberflus said. "Opportunities that we had on offense that we should have taken advantage of [were] coverages we were given or run fronts that we had. I showed them all those.
"That was for a reason. Everyone is held accountable to make those opportunities count. We've got to do a better job as a group of seizing those opportunities because those could sway the game, for sure."
The Bears defense didn't register a takeaway or a sack Sunday but came close.
The first missed opportunity came on the game's second play from scrimmage. Breaking quickly up field on a Baker Mayfield pass, safety Jaquan Brisker got his hands on the ball but couldn't secure it for an interception. It appeared, however, that Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans got his hands on the incomplete pass as well.
The defense also generated pressure on Mayfield at times but couldn't bring him down. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue twice had the quarterback in his arms, but both times Mayfield escaped. Tackle Andrew Billings also got close on multiple plays.
Eberflus said that finishing is "just about technique."
"We were around [Mayfield] a bunch," Eberflus said. "We had a bunch of opportunities that I showed the D-line and the pressure players to get there. Baker's strong. He's a strong guy. You've got to tackle him a certain way. It's important that you do that. You've got to get him around the waist, so we were just too high. We were too high in those moments, and we've got to improve that going forward.
"Every quarterback's different, how you get him on the ground. Some guys you've got to tackle a little bit higher, some guys you've got to tackle a little bit lower. They give you a strike zone that you can tackle in. So that's what you've always got to focus on. Every quarterback's different. We've got to do a better job."
(2) Eberflus felt that the Bears improved from Week 1 to 2 and also showed players clips of their positive plays in Sunday's defeat.
The offense produced six plays of at least 20 yards, double the three they generated a week earlier versus the Packers. On the unit's first possession, Justin Fields completed passes of 33 and 31 yards to DJ Moore, setting up Fields' 1-yard touchdown run that gave the Bears a 7-3 lead.
On a fourth-quarter drive, Fields connected on 6 of 6 passes for 102 yards, including a 20-yard TD strike to Chase Claypool, drawing the Bears to within 20-17 with 6:17 remaining in the game. Earlier on the possession, Fields completed passes of 23 yards to Khalil Herbert and 22 yards to Moore.
The bright spots on defense came in the fourth quarter when the Bears forced Tampa Bay to punt on three straight possessions, allowing a total of only two first downs. The stops kept the Bears in the game and gave them a chance to rally.
(3) Eberflus saw positives but also a lack of consistency on offense.
The unit opened with an impressive 6-play, 75-yard touchdown drive but then failed to score another TD on its next six possessions, five of which ended with punts. Fields then orchestrated an 8-play, 90-yard TD drive but then was intercepted on back-to-back possessions, including one that was returned for a game-clinching touchdown.
Asked how Fields graded out, Eberflus said: "It was consistency, right? I think he did a lot of good things in the game. You could see that. You could see his operation's better with the offense, you could feel that. But again, we're just searching for consistency, to be able to create those explosive plays, get the ball to No. 2 (Moore), get the ball to 10 (Claypool).
"We thought 10 played better, blocked the perimeter better, did a nice job with those things and made a nice touchdown catch there, so we were excited about that. But, yeah, it's just about consistency, about doing it right."