Matt Eberflus opted to punt late in the game, taking the ball out of his offenses’ hands but should he have?
As the Chicago Bears dropped the Week 4 game in New York to fall to 2-2 on the season, there were some interesting story lines once again for a team that is really struggling in key phases of the game.
Chicago’s offense did score 12 points, all coming on four field goals from Michael Badgley as they were 0-for-3 in the red zone but they really struggled with consistency throughout. The Bears couldn’t muster much on offense but hung in there and found themselves trailing 20-12 with just over three minutes to go.
In a one possession game, the Bears faced a 4th and 2 from their own 45-yard-line. Most coaches would trust the analytics and go for it despite having all three timeouts.
But Matt Eberflus? No chance in hell. He was punting that football and his decision was made up.
After the punt, Eberflus’ decision was listed in the Surrender Index in the 98th percentile of cowardly punts this season and 97th percentile since 1999. Ouch.
CHI decided to punt to NYG from the CHI 45 on 4th & 2 with 3:15 remaining in the 4th while losing 12 to 20.
With a Surrender Index of 26.46, this punt ranks at the 98th percentile of cowardly punts of the 2022 season, and the 97th percentile of all punts since 1999.
— Surrender Index 90 (@surrender_idx90) October 2, 2022
Following the game, Matt Eberflus defended his decision to punt at that stage in the game while talking to the media:
“That was great,” Matt Eberflus said of how that decision played out via 670 The Score. “To me, we banged the timeouts when we were supposed to. We let the other one go because we had the two-minute (warning). We were going to get the ball above two minutes with the timeout at midfield. I believe the punter out-kicked the coverage a bit and we had Velus Jones back there. I mean, we had great blocking. There was a wide space for us to be able to return that ball to midfield. Now, we got a drive there to try to score and tie with the two-point.”
The Bears defense did get a stop after a beauty of a punt by Trent Gill but that was washed away when Velus Jones Jr. muffed the punt.
With the struggles of the offense, I can see why Eberflus opted to punt there. But at some point, he’s going to have to take that gamble and try to find a spark.
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