Matt Eberflus made excellent use of the 11 days between a Thursday night game and a Monday night game. He’s starting to look like Eberflus is a rarity in that he’s a rookie head coach who understands his responsibilities as a veteran. His lack of experience as a head coach was nowhere to be seen in the Bears’ 33-14 win over the Patriots.
That’s what he does that’s exceptional: controlling what he can control. Among the things he has controlled well are preparation, planning and recognizing his team’s potential and limitations.
Here are my other post-match points:
• Peyton Manning wanted the Bears to try and score another touchdown at the end of the game. By having Justin Fields take a knee, Eberflus did the right thing by emphasizing sportsmanship and respect.
• It was a really well thought out game plan from offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, and his game was money all night.
• The Bears offense was a bit like the Ravens in terms of what they tried to do and what they accomplished. Given some similarities in personnel, the Ravens provide a logical model for the Bears.
• The Bears’ best defense could have been their offense. An edge possession time of nearly 14 minutes? It’s impressive. No Patriots player on offense has made more than one appearance.
• It was Justin Fields’ peak, at least until now. He went through his progressions better than before and made logical decisions for the most part.
• Fields ran with vigor, as he has done several times this season. But he also raced responsibly, which he didn’t always do.
• Runs designed for Fields will become less effective as defenses plan them – unless the Bears become more varied and efficient in the passing game.
• Fields’ ball handling remains an issue. The box score indicates he had four fumbles against the Patriots, and his 11 fumbles are tied for the league lead. It wasn’t talked about much because the Bears recovered ten of those fumbles. It’s luckier than can be explained. His 2021 draft classmate Trevor Lawrence, for example, lost all four of his fumbles. If Fields continues to ground the ball, it will cost the Bears wins.
• Fields deserves credit for the win, but not at the expense of the big guys on both sides of the ball. Victory was due to them as much as anyone else.
• Offensive lineman Sam Mustipher will not leave. And the Bears should be grateful for that. Every NFL team needs Sam Mustiphers.
• Bears general manager Ryan Poles will replace Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker today. He should take another for Dante Pettis, a player he signed in the third wave of free agency to a beneficial contract that has contributed in various ways.
• The Bears’ three interceptions were byproducts of rushing passes, runs scored and run defense.
• Roquan Smith doesn’t have an agent, but if he did the agent would no doubt bring up the linebacker’s performance on Monday (12 tackles, a sack and an interception) when negotiating Smith’s next contract .
• If the Bears thought Patriots pass thrower Matthew Judon was hard to block (he most certainly was), wait until they get Micah Parsons, who they’ll face Sunday in Dallas.
• One week before the NFL’s trade deadline, the Poles must approach the Bears’ victory with sobriety. Going long would be a mistake unless the Bears can acquire a long-term player. Standing tapping is usually the best way.
• It was a game to savor and remember, by far the Bears’ best win of the season so far. But at the end of the day, it shouldn’t read more than the Bears’ worst loss of the season so far in Green Bay. Both matches have the same weight in the standings.
(Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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