Low Expectations and Fan Apathy Could Figure into Bears 2024 Decisions

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune has 10 thoughts after the Bears blew a big lead in the last 4 minutes at Detroit on Sunday:

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to make a case for why [Matt Eberflus] should remain in his position in 2024. The Bears are again two games away from their first two-game winning streak under Eberflus. They have yet to defeat an opponent with a winning record. They are winless against NFC North teams since the beginning of the 2022 season.”

“‘This is an ugly loss right here,’ defensive end DeMarcus Walker said. ‘I feel like this is the worst one. I don’t know, man. I’ve seen a lot of football, but, damn, you know. I don’t know, man. Honestly, I couldn’t answer your questions. I’ve got to watch the film. Because I really want to see, like, what the (expletive) happened.’

“That’s what makes it disingenuous to sort through a game like this and pull out the positives — and there were plenty — while glossing over the ‘what the (expletive) happened.'”

Some of you who follow this blog may remember that I ended my post on Sunday with a relatively positive assessment of the Bears.

“Between a couple of games pre-injury and this game, [Justin] Fields has looked much better to me. The day that he complained about how his head was spinning with all of the things that he was supposed to be looking at was a turning point. I’m guessing that the Bears simplified the offense and tailored it more to his strengths at that point. The defense was notably more opportunistic than usual today and the defensive line looks better. The team over all has come a a long way since that first miserable game against the Packers.”

I wasn’t trying to be “disingenuous” when I wrote that. It was what I genuinely thought and, as Biggs, himself, admits, what I said is basically true. But reading Biggs’ comment, I decided to take a close look at my own feelings about this game and why those were my final thoughts of the night when the Bears failed to finish again instead of something more negative.

The first thing is that, like Biggs, I’m starting to think about Eberflus’s future. In doing so, I’m trying to be balanced. I definitely think that Eberflus’s team should be winning more games. No doubt about it. But, probably like most fans, I’m tired of just starting over and over again on the coaching merry-go-round.

Like the majority of the Bears hires over the last 30 years, Eberflus is a first time head coach. When you hire a guy like that you have to realize that he’s going to have to grow into the position. Basically, he’s getting on the job training. Under those circumstances, you have to ask yourself if you are pulling the plug too early on a guy who could potentially be a good head coach if you give him more time.

Why do I think that maybe he could potentially be a good head coach in the future? When I think about it, I think about the improvements that I see. And I’m trying to balance that against all of the negatives and failures. It’s not a slam dunk decision.

But that doesn’t completely explain why I wasn’t raging at the end after yet another tough loss. The complete answer is that, well, I think I’ve done the one thing that you don’t want your your young football team to do. I’ve gotten used to losing.

My expectations for this team are so low right now that I can’t really find it in myself to get angry any more. Its been five years of this stuff since 2018 and it wears you down.

I watch the Bears on Sunday and I’m completely numb. And I think that most fans are, too.

That’s really bad new for the Bears. Good or bad, angry or sad, the last thing that you want your fans to be is apathetic. The Bears have to do something to inject more excitement into the fan base. It probably hasn’t affected the profits much. Yet. But I’ll bet things like jersey sales are already way down. Eventually it will affect the bottom line and, you wonder if, in the end, that will figure into the Eberflus decision the most.

Quick Comments: Bears at Lions 11/19/23


  1. The Lions appear to be very wary of Justin Fields legs. They tried to be very disciplined in their pass rush. Fields took to leaving the pocket early but even then the Lions looked more to me like they were just trying to corral him.
  2. It was notable that the Bears had Fields running with the ball so often early. The read option was involved. These plays involve simple reads and simply allow Fields to take off. I’m wondering if the Bears simplified the offense for Fields.
  3. Fields passes did not look like they were affected by the thumb to me. He threw a wonderful touchdown pass to DJ Moore late in the third quarter.
  4. Fields did a good job of taking underneath throws when needed today.
  5. Its funny how often Fields finds DJ Moore late in a down. Moore seems to have a gift for finding ways to get open when the play breaks down.
  6. The Lions looked to me like they were relying heavily on man-to-man defense. It was an interesting choice from a team that doesn’t have what I would consider to be a great defensive backfield. I suppose they didn’t respect the Bears receivers outside of DJ Moore much.
  7. On a related note, it was interesting to see the Lions start to crash the line of scrimmage late in the first quarter, especially when D’Onta Foreman was in the game. That’s probably because they know that he’s likely to run if he’s in as he’s not great at anything else that running backs do They sold out to the run and challenged Fields to beat them with his arm. It put more pressure on the Lions defensive backfield.
  8. On a related note to that, Khalil Herbert never looks to me like he hits the holes as hard as Foreman. But I know he’s better in pretty much every other way. What the Lions are doing when Foreman is in the game is probably related to why the Bears didn’t have him on the active roster very often early in the year.
  9. First and goal from the Lions 1/2 yard line and I’m surprised the Bears didn’t go to the “tush push”. The Bears scored on a run by D’Onta Foreman. Notably they tried the sneak later in the fourth quarter. It failed.
  10. Lucas Patrick goes down and Dan Feeney is ahead of Cody Whitehair on the depth chart at center? They gave up on Whitehair fast. Fields looked like he was having a hard time getting on the same page as Feeney.
  11. The Lions were also bringing heavy pressure on third down. It certainly looked to me like an opportunity for a screen pass or something similar.
  12. I would swear that Tyler Scott slowed down just a little bit near the end of the deep pass on 3rd and long with 2:30 left in the game. He’d have had it otherwise and that might have been the game.
  13. With all of the nice things that there were to say about Fields today its still stands that when he had to pass at the end of the game, he lost any feel for the pocket that he might have and he failed.


  1. You can always count on Mark Schlereth to emphasize offensive line play. Loved his comment about the about 100 year old TE Marcedes Lewis.
  2. Nice catch by Tyrique Stevenson on his first NFL interception on the Lions first possession. It looked like Jared Goff expected his receiver to break in more but he got bumped off of his route. Goff also either expected him to be deeper or, as the announcers suggested, the pass rush affected him.
  3. Justin Jones looked good today. He seemed to be around the ball a lot.
  4. I thought the Bears were doing a decent job of pushing the pocket on Goff. Most of the time it looked to me like a straight four man rush. They varied it a little bit but nothing special for the most part. It was notable that when they blitzed at the end of the first half, they got burned.
  5. Having said that I thought it was pretty funny when the athletically limited Jack Sanborn blitzed at the beginning of the second half. Goff probably was apoplectic with surprise. He took the sack.
  6. Ad opportunistic as the Bears defense was today, its notable that Jaylon Johnson dropped two interceptions in the middle of a contract year. No making it rain today celebrations today.
  7. Good play by Detroit on the touchdown with about 3 minutes left in the game as they targeted the hole in the Bears zone. But Eddie Jackson was very late getting over to my eye.
  8. People around the country probably think that David Montgomery gave this game some extra effort because he was playing his ex-team. He didn’t. He always plays like that.


  1. Very irritating that the good people at FOX couldn’t keep the time straight as the clock wound down in the first half. Kind of a critical situation with the Lions driving to not know how much time was left.
  2. I’ve never seen a network push a college game like FOX is pushing Ohio St. – Michigan next weekend. I know its a big game but there have been plenty of others that went by without that kind of hype.
  3. Multiple delay of game penalties today along with a wasted timeout were inexcusable. That needs to be cleaned up.
  4. Credit the Detroit crowd. They were loud. They certainly have reason to be excited about this Lions team.
  5. The Lions did everything that they could to blow this game. Crippling penalties. They lost the turnover battle 4 to 1. The Bears doubled the Lions time of possession. But the still pulled it out in the end. Kudos to them.
  6. Between a couple of games pre-injury and this game, Fields has looked much better to me. The day that he complained about how his head was spinning with all of the things that he was supposed to be looking at was a turning point. I’m guessing that the Bears simplified the offense and tailored it more to his strengths at that point. The defense was notably more opportunistic than usual today and the defensive line looks better. The team over all has come a a long way since that first miserable game against the Packers.

Quick Comments: Bears at Saints 11/5/23


  1. The Bears came out executing well with a good mix of passing and timely run plays. The run looked to me like the key to the beating Saints defense coming in. They play a lot of games up front, threaten the blitz and have a lot of late coverage movement. Running the ball negates all of that. And it certainly helps a young quarterback.
  2. Interestingly I think that New Orleans came out giving the Bears plenty of room underneath in coverage. They may have been hoping that they could just let the Bears shoot themselves in the foot.
  3. I would suggest that Cole Kmet should have broken back towards the line of scrimmage for that intercepted pass in the first quarter. Had he done that it wouldn’t have been a turnover.
  4. If you ever want to see how play action is supposed to work in the NFL, take a look at Kmet’s touchdown early in the second quarter. The entire right half of the Saints defense broke in on the fake. That’s one thing I really like about Bagent. He carries those fakes out completely. Its more valuable than many realize.
  5. The Saints allowed Bagent to get outside the pocket on the naked boot way too often. It’s something that other teams have concentrated on shutting down and that has limited both he and Justin Fields when it happens.
  6. Nice to see Darnell Mooney so involved today. Both Bagent and Fields need to keep him more involved. The Bears have to have a wide receiver to go to other than DJ Moore. It was very evident that the Saints weren’t going to let Moore beat them. He was blanketed most of the day.
  7. I love D’Onta Foreman. But he did not always look sharp today. especially early on. There were times when I thought he looked heavy legged. I think he may have wormed up as the game went on.
  8. The Bears were 6 for 12 on some difficult third downs. On the good side, some of those were difficult third and longs.


  1. I think that the Saints might have thought that they could attack the middle of the field. They may have felt like they could take advantage of Jack Sanborn’s presence in place of the injured Tremaine Edmunds.
  2. Edmunds is obviously a good, athletic player but Sanborn’s instincts really show themselves when he plays in the middle. He’s underrated.
  3. To my eye Saints quarterback Derek Carr sure did have a lot of time back there. That’s nothing new but if you were looking for an immediate impact from Montez Sweat you were destined to be disappointed.
  4. On a similar note, the Bears have to get to the quarterback on the blitz. They aren’t good enough to cover good receivers man to man forever. The Saints touchdown in the first quarter was a prime example. Kyler Gordon had him in coverage but Carr had time and Chris Olave found a way to break away from him.
  5. Alvin Kamara is a wonder. There’s nothing he can’t do on the football field. He was a problem all day.


  1. Matt Ryan is a pretty good color man. Lots of insight there. Sometimes these recently retired quarterbacks start that way and then they have less to say as time goes by and the league moves on. It will be interesting to see if he hangs on to perform consistently at this level.
  2. The Bears had 8 damaging penalties for 71 yards. There’s never a good time for penalties but it felt like the Bears were particularly badly timed. The Saints had only 1 for 5 yards. Though it wasn’t the major differeence in the game it definitely hurt them.
  3. I felt that the Bears possession at the end of the third quarter was a turning point in this game. The Bears went three and out seep in their own territory, ending the possession on a little slip screen to Darrynton Evans. It was a conservative play call and I’m not sure it was justified. The Bears punted and the Saints returned to the Bears side of the 50. The Saints offense went through the Bears defense like a hot knife through butter for a touchdown and it was 24-17. Not insurmountable but it certainly felt like it.
  4. Obviously it was the turnovers that made the difference today. Bagent had a tough day with four including three interceptions, 2 in the fourth quarter, and a fumble on the last possession of the game. Significantly, these interceptions weren’t bad reads. They were throws that were a little off in terms of accuracy. A little behind the receiver against a defense where the margins for error were small. Perhaps he’ll be able to work his way out of it by improving his timing with his receivers. But I doubt he’ll get another chance this year with Fields seemingly being close to ready to come back and start on Thursday.
  5. I was really impressed by the Bears ability to make plays in tough situations today. It seemed like time after time they put themselves into a hole with a dumb penalty or a sack and they managed to dig themselves out of it. That’s what good teams do. Now they just need to have to do it less often.