After watching tape of Sunday's 31-30 loss to the Lions, Bears coach Matt Eberflus on Monday discussed three things that stood out to him in the game:
(1) Eberflus lamented the Bears' inability to finish.
The Bears led 24-10 entering the fourth quarter and 30-24 with nine minutes remaining and squandered both leads. After the Lions tied the score 24-24 with two touchdowns in a 1:08 span, the Bears responded by retaking a 30-24 edge on Justin Fields' spectacular 67-yard TD run. But Detroit answered with a game-winning eight-play, 91-yard drive capped by Jamaal Williams' 1-yard TD run with 2:21 to play.
"We were up by six I think with seven minutes to go," Eberflus said. "We have to put it away there. We didn't as a football team do that at that time and that's what we've got to work on."
The key play on Detroit's winning drive was Jared Goff's 44-yard pass to receiver Tom Kennedy on third-and-8 from the Lions' 42. Kennedy beat cornerback Jaylon Johnson over the middle on the play.
"We didn't play good enough man coverage in there," Eberflus said. "The pressure wasn't tight enough, wasn't fast enough, didn't hit the quarterback on that particular one and it wasn't good enough."
Trailing 31-30, the Bears took over at their own 20 with 2:17 to play. They picked up one first down but turned the ball over on downs after Fields was sacked for the second time on three plays on fourth-and-8 from the 32.
"It just comes down to be able to execute in that moment," Eberflus said. "We've got to do a good job of executing if we get to third down or even if we get to fourth down. We've got to be able to execute in those moments there."
(2) Eberflus marveled at another record-breaking performance by Fields.
One week after rushing for 178 yards—the most by a quarterback in NFL history—against the Dolphins, Fields ran for 147 yards versus the Lions. He set a Bears record for the longest touchdown run by a quarterback with a 61-yarder last weekend and eclipsed it with a 67-yarder Sunday.
"He's got tremendous speed and he's very strong," Eberflus said. "He steps on guys pretty fast. He doesn't do a lot of wiggling once he gets into that defensive backfield. He puts on the gas and does a good job. He understands angles and speed."
Fields became the first Bears quarterback to rush for at least 100 yards in back-to-back games and the club's first player to run for at least 147 yards in consecutive contests since Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton compiled 155 yards against the Cowboys and 154 versus the Saints in Weeks 5 and 6 in 1984.
Eberflus said Monday that the presence of Fields made the Bears' head-coaching position very appealing.
"When you're looking at different types of places to go, you take spots for that reason," Eberflus said. "The No. 1 spot you look at is quarterback. You study and look at that and I loved what I saw. I'm loving what I'm seeing even more since I've been here for this amount of time."
Asked what he liked about Fields, Eberflus said: "Just what I'm seeing now: the athleticism, the toughness, the grit, the ability to make special plays, and he's done that."
(3) In Monday's tape review, Eberflus showed players how well they performed in the third quarter as well as the costly mistakes that were made in the fourth period.
"In the team meeting, I showed the guys the whole third quarter, those plays, the third-down stops and the big touchdown throws and all that," Eberflus said. "And then working into that fourth quarter, how we can play it a little bit better? How can we be smarter? How can we do a better job of functioning as a group?"
The Bears committed a season-high nine penalties for 86 yards, including three by the defense that sustained a pivotal TD drive that allowed the Lions to cut the deficit to 24-17 in the fourth quarter.
First, Kyler Gordon drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct flag when he tried to punch the ball away from Goff from behind, causing the quarterback to fall to the ground after going out of bounds.
"When you're on the sideline with a quarterback, you can agree or disagree with the call, but we have to be smart as defensive players when it is the quarterback, knowing that they're going to protect those guys," Eberflus said. "They got a nice chunk of change there from that penalty and then we had a couple penalties in a row after that."
Johnson was assessed illegal hands-to-the-face penalties on back-to-back plays, the second of which negated an interception by rookie linebacker Jack Sanborn deep in Bears territory.
"What a great play by Sanborn," Eberflus said. "Getting into that window, returning it back to the 25. That was really a momentum play in the game."
The penalty that nullified the interception swung the momentum to the Lions, who closed the gap to 24-17 on the next snap on D'Andre Swift's 9-yard TD run.