A rare win couldn’t prevent Matt Eberflus from going viral for all the weird reasons.
The Bears coach was excited during his interview before the start of the second half of “Thursday Night Football” on Prime Video in the eventual 16-13 win over the Panthers, declaring “we have some things up our sleeve.”
They may still be up there as Chicago, which trailed Carolina, 10-9, at the half, started the third quarter with a three-and-out.
The Bears did rally for the win, led by a stout defense, an offense that showed just enough against the 1-8 Panthers and a curious decision by Carolina coach Frank Reich to attempt a 59-yard field goal at the end of the game that was woefully short.
Eberflus was asked if he used what was up his sleeve in the postgame press conference.
“I don’t know, what’s up yours,” a smiling Eberflus said.
Eberflus did have reason to be relieved as the victory improved the Bears to 3-7 and simultaneously helped their chances of landing the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, as they also own the Panthers’ first-round selection.
Even with win, Eberflus remains on slippery ground as he is 6-21 in his one-plus season in Chicago.
The final seven games of the season and the development of quarterback Justin Fields, who is expected back next week after missing four games with a dislocated thumb, will go a long way in determining his fate.
Fields’ availability for Thursday’s game presented fans with another odd Eberflus moment this week.
The 53-year-old coach couldn’t seem to decide if Fields was doubtful or out when asked Wednesday.
He said Fields was doubtful, even though the quarterback was not medically cleared to play.
“We’ve got to give him one more day,” Eberflus said. “Give him one more day. But he’s working hard, and it’s getting better every day. So we’ll see where it goes.”
A reporter then asked: “He’s not playing?”
Eberflus confirmed Fields was out, which made the doubtful designation strange.
“Now, he’s listed as doubtful,” said Eberflus, while acknowledging at the same time that Fields would not play.
“We’ll see where it goes. The chances are doubtful, 51 percent that he’s in or out, so we’ll see where It is.”
Without Fields, the Bears have turned to undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent.
Bagent is 2-2 in four starts, but likely returns to the backup role when the Bears vist the Lions on Nov. 19.