After watching tape of Sunday night's 27-10 loss to the Packers, Bears coach Matt Eberflus discussed three things that stood out to him:
(1) Eberflus conceded that the Bears' lack of production in the passing game is a concern.
Justin Fields completed 7 of 11 passes for 70 yards with one interception and a 43.8 passer rating in Green Bay. A week earlier in a 19-10 season-opening win over the 49ers, he connected on 8 of 17 passes for 121 yards with two TDs, one interception and an 85.7 passer rating.
"We're looking at that," Eberflus said. "I think that is a concern. We want to get better there. We want to improve. There's no question. We want to improve in a lot of parts of our football team, other aspects of our football team, but that's one of them. The touches, who we are looking at, getting touches early, getting guys involved, all those things are getting looked at as we're looking through the course of our whole football team."
Receiver Darnell Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet, who were expected to be key weapons this season, have combined for just two catches for four yards in the first two games, with both receptions by Mooney. In 2021, Mooney (81 catches for 1,055 yards and four TDs) and Kmet (60-612-0) combined for 141 receptions for 1,667 yards and four TDs.
Eberflus acknowledged that the Bears offense will only be successful if Mooney and Kmet are involved in the passing game.
"We need to highlight our skill," Eberflus said. "We know that. So we're going to try to do a better job of that. We will do a better job. We've got great coaches. Those guys are smart. They know how to get it done and we will get it done."
(2) Eberflus revealed that the Bears stuck with their running game Sunday night because it was effective.
The Bears ran for 180 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries against the Packers, averaging a robust 6.7 yards per attempt. Running back David Montgomery rushed for 122 yards on 15 carries, the third most productive outing of his four-year NFL career. Khalil Herbert added 38 yards on four attempts.
Montgomery fueled the Bears' lone TD drive on their first possession, rushing for 38 yards on four carries. Trailing 24-10 in the fourth quarter, Montgomery (6 carries for 61 yards) and Herbert (2-33) combined to run for 94 yards on eight attempts as the Bears marched to the Packers' 1. But on fourth-and-goal, Fields was stopped just short of the goal line.
"We were going with what was working," Eberflus said. "We were hitting some big runs in there and it was working for us and it [could have] put us into a one-score game [with] eight minutes or so [to play]."
Eberflus stressed that the Bears trust Fields to throw more than he did Sunday night and ideally would like to strive for a 50/50 run-pass ratio.
"I just think you need balance," Eberflus said. "At the end of the day, we'd like to be 50/50 in a game that you're able to do that and we want to have balance for sure because it keeps the defense honest … [Offensive coordinator] Luke [Getsy] knows that. Justin knows that. We know that. So we're going to create that."
(3) Eberflus felt that the Bears needed more push at the point of attack on Fields' failed run up the middle on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
Officials ruled that he failed to break the plane of the goal line with the ball. Eberflus challenged the call, but the ruling was upheld after a replay review. A touchdown would have enabled the Bears to close the gap to 24-17 with 8:07 left in the fourth quarter.
"It's just push, getting guys lower, getting pad level down, getting movement at the point of attack," Eberflus said. "But we like the play. It was a quarterback power play. We did outnumber the point of attack there and we just [needed] a little more push, a little more pad level."