Matt Eberflus explains the decision to punt on 4th-and-2

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The Chicago Bears (2-2) suffered a tough 20-12 loss to the New York Giants (3-1) on Sunday. But despite their abysmal offensive performance, it was a one-possession game until the end.

In fact, the Bears had a chance to potentially tie the Giants with 3:15 left in the game. Faced with a fourth-and-2 near midfield, head coach Matt Eberflus elected to punt the ball rather than attempt to keep the drive going on what would be their last (legitimate) scoring opportunity.

So why did Eberflus elect to punt near midfield instead of going for it on fourth-and-2? Well, let’s just say he stands by his decision.

“To me, we banged the timeouts when we were supposed to,” Eberflus said, via 670 the Score. “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.”

To be fair, it did work like Eberflus noted. The Bears defense forced a three-and-out and were primed to get the ball back. Until rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. muffed the punt, which was recovered by the Giants and all but sealed the game.

There’s also something to be said about momentum — something that was lacking for the offense throughout most of the game. At the 3:15 mark, the offense was in solid position near midfield when Eberflus elected to punt. Even if Jones hadn’t muffed the punt, would the Bears offense have managed to move the ball? Unfortunately, we don’t know.

But there are times when it is ideal to go for it on fourth down — and near midfield trailing by eight points is one of those scenarios. But Eberflus appears content to keep it conservative and play not to lose — all while losing in the process.

Story originally appeared on Bears Wire

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