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Focus remains on finishing as Bears return from bye week


The Bears returned to Halas Hall Monday after their bye week relaxed, refreshed and ready to prepare for the final stretch of the regular season.

"It was nice, nice to kind of mentally and physically reset a little bit and know you've got five of these [games] left in the regular season," said tight end Cole Kmet. "Just a good mental break and physical break."

"It's really about finishing," Eberflus said. "You talk about finishing. It starts with [Sunday's] game. You've got to really finish. I was proud of the way the guys finished the last game. That's in the past. Now you look forward. To me, that's what it's about. The NFL is about finishing in the two-minute, four-minute process, the end of the halves, end of the games. We're certainly looking to improve on that."

The Bears did an excellent job of finishing last Monday night in Minnesota, rallying from a 10-9 deficit to register a 12-10 victory on Cairo Santos' 30-yard field goal with :10 remaining. The winning kick came after the defense had forced a three-and-out and Justin Fields completed a clutch 36-yard pass to DJ Moore to the Minnesota 13.

"It's really good when you get that done," Eberflus said. "You can feel the guys' energy out there, the optimism, the enthusiasm, the belief in themselves and the belief in each other."

The way the Bears closed out the Vikings game was particularly satisfying given what had transpired in their previous game in Detroit. The Bears led 26-14 late in the contest before the Lions scored 17 unanswered points in the final 2:59 to rally for a 31-26 victory.

With a rematch against Detroit looming Sunday at Soldier Field, the Bears are determined to avenge what occurred Nov. 19 at Ford Field.

"You can feel a motivation there, and optimism," Eberflus said. "And certainly the focus with our guys today, you could feel that. And the energy, you could feel that for sure at the walk-through. The guys are wired in and want to perform well this week."

Health update: Eberflus is pleased with where the Bears are health-wise, saying Monday it appears that rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson could return to action after missing the Vikings game with an ankle injury he sustained in practice.

"It looks that way," Eberflus said. "Once we get him out there in pads and get him moving around and changing direction … certainly like where he is, for sure."

If Stevenson can play against the Lions, he still might split reps with fellow rookie Terell Smith. The fifth-round pick from Minnesota registered a team-leading eight tackles versus the Vikings in his second game back after being sidelined for more than a month with mono.

"We'll certainly look at that," Eberflus said. "Smitty did play well, and we want to get our young guys more and more playing time. If they're effective and produce, we certainly will play them."

On the rise: The Bears have improved, compiling a 4-4 record since their 0-4 start. But the rest of the NFC North is also continuing to get better: the Lions have won eight of their last 10, the Vikings have won five of seven and the Packers have won four of five.

"It seems like everybody's improving," Eberflus said. "And that's obviously a challenge for everybody in the division: to play well each week. The NFL's set up that way. They play divisional games at the end, and they set it up that way on purpose. We're going to have to play good football at the end."

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