Bears coach Matt Eberflus facing 5 most important days of his career

They’ve lost 13 straight games, a franchise record. Eberflus has the lowest winning percentage of any coach in franchise history. Even acknowledging the Bears’ roster deficiencies last year, it’s fair to wonder if Eberflus, after only 20 games as a head coach, is in over his head.

SHARE Bears coach Matt Eberflus facing 5 most important days of his career
Chicago Bears v Kansas City Chiefs

Matt Eberflus coaches the Bears against the Chiefs.

Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

It didn’t take coach Matt Eberflus long to look ahead last Sunday after the Bears suffered one of their most embarrassing losses in recent history. It couldn’t be any more painful than looking back.

Less than a minute after he started explaining away the blowout loss to the Chiefs in a cramped room in the bowels of Arrowhead Stadium, he pointed to the Bears’ next two games.

“We’ve got a great opportunity ahead of us,” he said.

Starting Sunday at home against the Broncos and continuing Thursday on the road against the Commanders, the Bears will play twice in five days. And they will be the most important five days of Eberflus’ NFL career.

A week from hell that was capped by a 41-10 loss to the Chiefs was the biggest test of his ability to be a head coach for the first time at any level. And everyone failed. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned amid controversy, quarterback Justin Fields ripped his coaches and the defense Eberflus inherited was blown away by the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Bears might be the worst team in the NFL. That’ll become clearer Sunday. Only five teams have scored fewer points this season. Only Sunday’s opponent, the Broncos, has given up more points.

They Bears have lost 13 straight, a franchise record. Eberflus has the lowest winning percentage of any coach in team history. Even acknow-ledging the roster deficiencies last year, it’s fair to wonder if Eberflus, after only 20 games on the job, is in over his head.

General manager Ryan Poles said last week that he had a “ton of faith in ’Flus as a leader,” claiming he has done “a great job.” It’s worth wondering whether president and CEO Kevin Warren, who was hired after Eberflus and Poles and oversees them both, agrees. Warren has yet to see the Bears win since taking his role.

One victory — particularly against one of the NFL’s three other winless teams — won’t put the questions to rest. But losing Sunday’s matchup between two of the NFL’s biggest disappointments will do outsized damage to a fan base already on tilt.

Winning two games would be better than the alternative: Eberflus feeling pressure to make major changes to an 0-5 team during a “mini-bye” next weekend. There’s a big difference between 0-5 and 2-3.

“We’ve got everybody on our back — it’s like, ‘Oh, the Bears suck, all that,’ ” receiver Darnell Mooney said Friday. “But, I mean, we’ve got to go out there and get a [victory]. . . . It would definitely feel good to get a win, especially these next two, for sure. It would definitely change everything you have going on. It’s the reality of it all.”

Mooney pointed to a five-day stretch last season when the Bears, entering with a 2-2 record, lost by seven to the Vikings in Minnesota, then by five at home against the Commanders on a Thursday night. In the second game, Mooney caught a pass from Fields on fourth-and-goal and was tackled at the 1-yard line with 30 seconds to play.

The Commanders won six of their next seven. The Bears have won one game since.

“That was a big game where it turned, kind of a turning point of our season,” Mooney said. “Like, ‘OK, this is where it’s going.’ And then with Washington, it was a turning point in their season, like, ‘This is where they’re going.’

“I think this one, this Sunday game, is one of those — and then the Thursday game.”

Eberflus wouldn’t acknowledge that Friday, of course, saying, “This game is as important as the last one and the next one.”

But the next five days are crucial.

“I understand the passion of the Chicago Bears fans, and I understand the passion of our football team,” Eberflus said. “And we all want a victory, and I think it’s important that we fight for 60 minutes to get that done.”

And then, five days later, to do it again.

The Latest
Chicago’s severe weather left the Chicago Tribune Co., which prints and delivers the Tribune, Sun-Times and other papers, facing “production issues.”
Co-worker claimed he’d broken up with his ex and she was out of the picture, but now he’s getting back together with her.
Olympian opens up about her sadness after the 2020 Games and her marriage to the Bears’ Jonathan Owens.
“It’s always good to get a win under your belt and just try to build off that momentum,” Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon said. “Now you got a chance to take that when we come back and build off of it.”