Matt Eberflus on Monday praised the Bears for how well they played for three-plus quarters Sunday in Detroit but lamented how they let the game slip away.
The Bears scored 16 unanswered points to turn a 14-10 deficit into a 26-14 lead, but the Lions rallied with 17 points in the final 2:59 for a 31-26 victory at Ford Field.
"Really pleased with guys for the 54 minutes that we played in Detroit," Eberflus said. "Did a lot of good things and we certainly showed those in the team meeting today, and I want to commend those guys for the effort they put out there.
"Obviously, the last couple series there offensively and defensively, we've got to do a better job of finishing. We showed the guys that in the unit meetings and took accountability as players and coaches. That's a big part of the learning process. We just need to do a good job of focusing on that, on individual improvement, on unit improvement and how to finish those games out the right way."
Eberflus believes that coaches and players both were responsible for Sunday's defeat.
"It's our charge as coaches to put players in position," he said. "It's the players' job to make the plays. You are always looking at that. That's always a big part of it. Like I said, for 56 minutes we did that. We were putting guys in position, they were making plays, we owned the time of possession, we took the ball away, gave our guys a short field, gave ourselves a big lead. We've got to continue to do that as we go forward. It's always hand-in-hand. It's always coach and player, player and coach."
With the Bears ahead 26-14 late in the game, they needed to force the Lions to move slowly down the field to burn time off the clock. Instead, Jared Goff capped a 6-play, 75-yard drive that took just 1:16 with a 32-yard touchdown pass to open receiver Jameson Williams in the right corner of the end zone.
"We've just got to play that deep and short," Eberflus said. "We've got to be back. Kyler [Gordon] has got to sink back and be underneath and give that flat route away. We've got to do a better job."
The Bears followed with a three-and-out. Justin Fields handed off twice to Khalil Herbert—the second on a read-option play—for gains of 0 and 1 yards. On third-and-9, Fields looked for DJ Moore on a crossing route. But when the safety stepped up to cover Moore, Fields threw deep to rookie Tyler Scott. The pass appeared to be on target, but Scott was unable to haul in the throw.
"That would have been a spectacular play if we connected on that," Eberflus said. "We were right there. We've just got to do a good job of executing in that moment, and that's what we're talking about as a group. Taking accountability is offense, defense and kicking, about finishing the right way. We have to do that."
Center Lucas Patrick sustained a fluke back injury in the first quarter Sunday. Cole Kmet was ruled down by contact after a 3-yard reception, but the ball came loose and was scooped up by a Lions defender. After the whistle had blown, Patrick was blindsided by another Detroit player. No penalty was called.
"We're looking at that, are going to have the league look at that because the play was blown down and then Lucas was pursuing and then he ended up getting hit right there, and that's unfortunate," Eberflus said. "I talked to the ref about it, we discussed it, and we'll leave it at that. We'll see what they say."
"That's really just about prep," Eberflus said. "You only can prep one center to back up, and Feeney was the guy to do that. He obviously has experience at that position, and then Cody was going to back up the guard spots. We just felt that was the best continuity at the time."