Coming out of halftime, Bears’ Head Coach Matt Eberflus promised the nation that he ‘had tricks up his sleeve’ in the 2nd half of Chicago’s game against the Carolina Panthers. He may not have had much more in mind than a battering D’Onta Foreman touchdown run and a suffocating defensive gameplan, but he reached into his sleeve and pulled out a gritty, ugly win on Thursday Night Football all the same.
Sometimes we don’t ask how the win happened, we simply ask how many wins the team can provide. Chicago’s latest win keeps their own playoff hopes alive (even if only technically) while pushing Carolina down a path that the Panthers may not recover from this season — with Chicago holding onto Carolina’s 2024 1st round draft selection, that’s great news for the Bears indeed.
ESPN Analytics list the Bears as having a 42% chance at the 2024 NFL draft’s #1 overall pick, with even better odds that they land a top 2 pick rather than exclusively #1. That’s great news for Chicago regardless of whether you want to see the Bears reset at Quarterback or not — as we saw in last year’s DJ Moore trade, high picks are valuable commodities that create extraordinary opportunities for the teams that possess them.
Thursday’s contest was anything but a pretty game, and chances are the results didn’t change your opinion of Matt Eberflus one way or another. If you didn’t like him before, his conservative offensive game-plan, goofy halftime quote, and bizarre decision to kick the extra point with the score at 10-15 (rather than going for 2 and playing for a 7-point lead) likely didn’t sway you now. But if the offensive line’s recent chutzpah and the defense’s clear improvement have gotten you thinking about what Flus’ vision could look like given another offseason, I wouldn’t blame you for that either.
Next week’s Detroit game looms large for Matt Eberflus — if he wants to make a statement, he’ll need to make it in his trip to Motown. But between then and now, enjoy 11 days of that winning feeling.