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Matt Eberflus on the Hot Seat: QB Justin Fields Sensational Return

After a disappointing 26-31 loss, is Matt Eberflus on the hot seat? Justin Fields has proved that he is a franchise quarterback.
Matt Eberflus

The Chicago Bears (3-7) held their own against a strong Detroit Lions (7-2) team. The Bears had a 26-14 lead with 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. How did poor coaching from Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus and superb quarterback play from quarterback Justin Fields result in choking the lead?

How the Heart-Breaking Chicago Bears Loss Affects the Job Security of Matt Eberflus and QB Justin Fields

Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus’s Key Mistakes That Resulted in a Blown Lead

The game was off to a good start for the Chicago Bears and Head Coach Matt Eberflus. The Bears scored an opening-possession drive, executing a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was sealed with a 1-yard touchdown by D’Onta Foreman. However, the first critical mistake by Matt Eberflus happened when the Bears went up 10-7, giving the Lions the ball back on offense with 1:47 left in the second quarter. Due to Eberflus’s inability to make timely adjustments, the Lions effortlessly went down the Bears territory, resulting in a seven-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown to close out the first half with the Lions leading 14-10.

Fast-forward, the Bears worked their way up to a 26-14 lead, primarily due to the efforts of Fields and company. Jared Goff and the Lions responded by going 75 yards in only six plays, with a 32-yard bomb to Jameson Williams to shrink the Bears lead down to five points. Up 26-21 with 2:59 remaining in the game, any head coach should try to keep their foot on the gas and prevent a quick three-and-out, giving the other team a chance to take the lead late in the game. When most head coaches would put the game in their franchise quarterbacks’ hands, Eberflus had other intentions. Eberflus, with the help of Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy, made several conservative handoffs to Khalil Herbert that only took 26 seconds off the play clock and gave the Lions the ball back with 2:33 left in the game. Eberflus decided to call conservative zone-coverage plays, which resulted in the Lions scoring and taking the lead with only 29 seconds remaining in the game. Having Fields try to play hero ball with around 30 seconds left in the game is not ideal for any NFL quarterback.

Justin Fields Anticipated Return

Justin Fields returned from a right-thumb injury he suffered in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings. Many fans were happy to see the third-year quarterback return, and his performance against the Lions did not disappoint. Fields lit up the Detroit defense, completing 16 of 23 passes for 169 yards with one touchdown, having a passer rating of 105.2, and running for 104 yards. Fields was bleeding from his throwing hand during the game, the same hand where he hurt his thumb. Instead of wimping out, Fields showed his love for the game and his team, throwing quickly and accurately while in pain. The play of the game for Fields was when he stood firm in the pocket, stepping up and throwing a beautiful 39-yard touchdown pass straight into the hands of D.J. Moore. Despite Fields’ best efforts, the Bears could not hold the lead and lost 26-31 to the Lions. After the game, Fields stated that the Bears should have won the game.

What’s Next For Matt Eberflus, Justin Fields

Matt Eberflus and Justin Fields’s job security is trending in different directions. On one side, Matt Eberflus has not proven to be the Head Coach the Bears thought he would be—constant letdowns in games and no accountability taken by Eberflus. On the other side, Justin Fields has shown that he has what it takes to be the franchise quarterback for the Bears. To add to Fields’ spectacular game,  Bears General Manager Ryan Poles said he would have to be “blown away” to draft a replacement quarterback for Fields in the 2024 NFL Draft.

There is no question. There will be significant change coming in the offseason for the Chicago Bears. The question of whether the change would be in the coaching staff or the quarterback position just got a whole lot easier to make after the result of Sunday’s game.

Main Photo: David Reginek – USA Today Sports


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