Bears coach Matt Eberflus definitely believes in Occam’s Razor.
Maybe believe is the wrong word. He lives it.
This is the theory that the simplest explanation is usually the best.
When asked if Sunday’s 49-29 loss at Dallas was all about needing more talent, he spat out his answer.
“I don’t believe it,” he said. “I believe it’s up to the guys to do their job, the coaches to get them to do it the right way together and it’s up to us to play the way we’re supposed to play.
“That’s what I believe.”
Here again, Eberflus is not without believing in certain intangible assets.
Reporters asked him after the loss if maybe the short work week after a big road win on Monday night and the tumultuous emotional days when Robert Quinn was traded just caught up with a young team. He had to admit there was something in there.
“When you’re riding a wave of momentum like this, it can be a tricky thing for a young football team,” Eberflus said.
Eberflus definitely think practice and routine will get them back on track, like against New England.
That doesn’t help the ratings for Sunday’s game though.
Here’s Sunday’s Bears bulletin for a tough loss in the Big D.
Racing game: A+
That’s pretty much a rubber stamp every week now. A game of 240 yards and only 60 came from Fields’ run, so fullbacks and wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. were again very active. They find a way to make it work no matter what, it seems. This one had all the makings of a game when the current offense would be stopped because they started backups Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield on the line. It didn’t matter. They ran anyway. It was their third straight 200-yard game and fourth of the season. They mirror the Philadelphia Eagles offense in 2021, in Nick Sirianni’s first season. This team had 200 or more rushing yards five times. Look what they are a year later.
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Passing game: C+
It also could have been an A, if not for an abandoned attempt by Velus Jones to reach out for a nice deep ball from Justin Fields, and a counterflow by Fields to open Equanimeous St. Brown early in the game. Four sacks isn’t good either, but considering the subs on the offensive line and the way Dallas has led the league in inbound sacks, the line deserves some credit for Fields remaining intact. Fields had another career-best passer rating at 120, but his yards per attempt dropped in this one because he couldn’t connect on some of the deep throws. Fields had just 151 passing yards.
Run Defense: F
It all starts here. They were out of their gaps up front, got blocked and gave up 6.9 yards per carry even though Prescott only ran it six times. They allowed Tony Pollard to tie a career-high 131 yards. It was the kind of run defense they showed at the start of the season. Every time they think they’ve solved their run-stopping issues, something pops up. What’s happened is they’re dissected in the air by veteran passers, and then when they make adjustments, they leave their running defense exposed. It happened against Minnesota and in this one, and a few others to some extent. Roquan Smith had a terrible game, with five tackles, a season-low three and his least since making three in a Thanksgiving game against Detroit last year.
defensive pass: D-
Michael Gallup struggled to regain his footing after an injury last year, but facing the Bears helped him as he had four catches for 49 yards. Kindle Vildor had enjoyed three straight solid efforts, but the Cowboys exposed him, and they capitalized on Jaquan Brisker’s inexperience sporadically throughout the game. Tight end Darren Schultz found plenty of room to roam the roads and hurt them for a team-record six catches, a sign that Brisker, Nick Morrow and Smith were having coverage issues. The pass rush only materialized when they blitzed. Eddie Jackson’s interception backs that up after a total miss.
Special teams: C+
Neither team had a chance to do much in the kicking, returning, or covering game because it was basically a washout. They kept KaVontae Turpin in check with two punt returns averaging 7.5 yards, and he also misplayed one in a downed punt inside the 10. Dante Pettis had a return from punt from 9 yards and neither of the kick return teams had much luck to start. The Cowboys’ 83-yard punt was quite spectacular and Cairo Santos had his only field goal try.
Luke Getsy ups the rating with a brilliant plan to get the ground game going again against a very fast defense and to get the ball in the passing game. It wasn’t Fields running as much this time as he did against the Patriots, but he was still effective when he did. He has defense eyes that move sideways all the time and hits them with the running game. On the other hand, Alan Williams needs to come into games against veteran quarterbacks with something more than he has thus far. The more deception is needed, the more ways to pressure them early are needed, be it blitzes or stunts. They came into matches against Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins and looked utterly predictable and vulnerable. Against Carson Wentz, young Patriots QBs Trey Lance and Davis Mills, they looked terrific. Against Daniel Jones, they didn’t know how to stop a bootleg.
Finally, because there is no GM category, we end by attributing part of the responsibility for this disaster to GM Ryan Poles and assistant GM Ian Cunningham. They traded Robert Quinn on a busy Wednesday at Halas Hall, leaving the next two days for young players to absorb all the emotion of losing a beloved teammate and figuring out how to pick up the slack after losing his presence. Smith was totally shaken by it in the middle of a press conference. They should have completed that trade Tuesday or even Monday afternoon before the Patriots game, if not the week before. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman could have made the trade at any time, as he was only giving up a fourth round next spring. They need a better sense of timing. In this case, it could have reduced the emotional shock or allowed more time to recover.