Bears coordinators Luke Getsy (offense), Alan Williams (defense) and Richard Hightower (special teams) spoke to the media Thursday at Halas Hall. Here are five things we learned from their sessions:
(1) Getsy was thrilled that the Bears scored a season-high 33 points in Monday night's rout of the Patriots, but he was even happier with how it happened.
"It was more about the way that we did it more than necessarily getting 33 points," Getsy said. "I thought it was probably the most physical game that our guys played. We had guys go down, in and out of the game, so other guys had to step in with a bunch of different reps and there was no blink. The guys were prepared to play.
"I thought that was the really cool part about that whole day was the play style and the physicality of it, and then when you needed guys to step in and play, they were ready to rock and roll."
A perfect example is Sam Mustipher. After starting the first six games of the season at center, he was demoted in place of Lucas Patrick. But when Patrick exited in the first quarter with a toe injury, Mustipher entered the game and performed at a high level.
"That's why he's who he is," Getsy said. "Since the day we've met him, the guy's been a rock. I think everybody in that offensive unit looks up to him, respects him, not only what he knows but his play style and all that stuff and the kind of teammate he is. Zero hesitation or belief that he wouldn't have done what he did."
(2) Although tight end Cole Kmet has just 12 receptions for 148 yards in the first seven games, Getsy is more than pleased with how the third-year pro has performed.
"If you asked me, I wouldn't even have known how many catches he had," Getsy said. "The guy's been a stud for us. He makes critical plays. He plays as hard as anybody on this team. I get so excited when he has the ball in his hand because of the way he's so violent and finishes each run."
Against the Patriots, Kmet caught two passes for 32 yards, including a 26-yarder on third-and-7 that sustained a third-quarter drive that resulted in Cairo Santos' 50-yard field goal.
"[Kmet] is doing everything that we've asked of him and he's doing it to the best of his ability," Getsy said. "He's being a great leader on the team, too. I'm probably always sounding like a cliché and that's OK because I just really love the buy-in of these guys.
"Like I said last week, [Darnell] Mooney could complain about not having a touchdown either, and the guy's just been getting better each and every week in every part of his game, and Cole's, in my mind, doing the same."
(3) Williams enjoyed seeing the defense help reverse the momentum the Patriots created by scoring two quick TDs in the second quarter.
After the Bears took a 10-0 lead Monday night, the Patriots switched quarterbacks, replacing Mac Jones with Bailey Zappe. The move had an immediate impact, with Zappe engineering back-to-back drives that resulted in two TDs in a 3:39 span that gave New England a 14-10 lead.
The Bears, responded, however, as the defense generated takeaways on four of the Patriots' next eight possessions and didn't allow another point over the game's final 36:04.
Williams said the key for the defense was to "keep chopping wood."
"We want to stop the run, and I think we were doing that, and the plays that they got weren't typical pass plays," Williams said. "And so we said, 'hey, we want to make the quarterback play quarterback and not be able to have some off-schedule, unconventional plays.'
"And then you just reassure the guys that things are OK. The sky's not falling. Keep executing. And that's the beauty of our guys; when we send guys the message, they echo it all the way down from d-line to linebackers to the secondary, and that's kind of the result of the type of guys we have, that when you have those type of messages, they execute them."
(4) Hightower lauded Santos for winning NFC special teams player of the week honors and explained what sets him apart from other kickers.
Santos was recognized after making all four field goals he attempted from 42, 23, 38 and 50 yards and was 3-of-3 on extra points in the Bears' lopsided win at Gillette Stadium.
"I'm extremely proud of him, extremely happy for him, extremely happy for the group," Hightower said. "When Cairo found out about that award, just to tell you what type of character he [has], he said: 'It's not me coach. It's all of us. It's the snap. It's the hold. It's the kick. It's [long-snapper Patrick] Scales putting it exactly where it needs to be to make it easy for [holder] Trent [Gill] to put it down, and it's all the big boys protecting for me and it's a team award.'"
Santos has now made 17 straight field goals dating back to last season. He's made all 11 of his attempts this year, including four from 50 yards and beyond.
"He's a really, really good technician," Williams said. "His steps are always the same. His operation times are usually in the same area … [his accuracy is] due to consistency in his steps and being a technician. I think that and his mindset are what separates him from a lot of guys I've been around."
(5) Hightower praised linebacker Sterling Weatherford for playing with tenacity and intensity on special teams against the Patriots.
Weatherford led a kickoff coverage team that helped the Bears win the field-position battle Monday night. New England rookie Marcus Jones returned five of seven kickoffs—two went for touchbacks—and was tackled at his own 17, 21, 23, 27 and 18.
The seven drives the Patriots started following kickoffs resulted in four punts, two interceptions and a fumble.
Both times Jones was dropped inside-the-20, it was via tackles by Weatherford—at the 17 on the game's opening kickoff and the 18 in the fourth quarter.
"He basically was the 'HITS' principle on display," Williams said. "On that first tackle, we always talk about starting the game fast and trying to help the defense out, setting the tone. And then we talk about finishing, and he finished the game with a tackle inside the 20-yard line. So the tenacity and the relentless mindset that he played with was good to see from a young player, and another guy standing out.
"You want to be a part of changing field position and helping that way and I think Weatherford had that on his mind to start. He started the game that way and he finished the game that way, and I'm proud of him."
The Bears claimed Weatherford off waivers from the Colts Aug 31. He entered the NFL with Indianapolis this year as an undrafted free agent out of Miami (Ohio). He played safety in college but was switched to linebacker by the Colts.