It is over! The longest losing streak in the history of the Chicago Bears franchise is no longer active. The team beat the Washington Commanders 40-20 in a game that was much closer than the score indicates. The Bears had to overcome a bunch of injuries and difficult plays on their way to finally getting their first victory of the season.
The Bears also received monster games from quarterback Justin Fields and wide receiver D.J. Moore. Fields went 15/29 for 282 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also added 57 rushing yards. It was his second consecutive game with 4 touchdowns. More importantly, he did not give Washington any momentum by having any interceptions or fumbles lost.
Moore had himself a game of the ages. He had 8 catches (on 9 targets) for an amazing 280 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was the first Chicago Bears player to have a game like that in franchise history. It is nice to see a record break for a good reason. He could have had even more on a play in which he was ruled out of bounds but the replay showed he might have been in bounds. Had the refs not missed that he could have had another touchdown and Fields would have eclipsed 300 passing yards.
Being the Chicago Bears, it was not an easy victory After suffering a collapse last week, they scratched and clawed but still finished the job
At one point, it looked like it could happen again. The Commanders made their halftime adjustments and came out like gangbusters. They took the opening drive in the third quarter and marched 75 yards in 5 plays and five minutes. That start equaled the Bears' opening drive of the game that went 75 yards in 6 plays and took 2:56. After a successful 2-point conversion, the score was 27-11.
Washington tried to pass their way to victory. From the 9:28 point in the second quarter through the end of the game the Commanders did not call a run play. They had two running plays but only because quarterback Sam Howell faced pressure and he ran to avoid getting sacked.
After only having 84 total yards of offense in the first half, the Commanders used their passing game to try to come back. Howell dropped back 56 times. It was effective for a good chunk of the second half when the Commanders had 304 yards of offense.
The Bears' defense had that bend but don't break philosophy, however. After they gave up a quick third-quarter touchdown they were able to force a fumble on Washington's next drive. Then after that, the Commanders were marching down the field but Chicago's defense was able to make a stop and force a field goal. That made the score 27-14.
The Bears got a Cairo Santos field goal to make the score 30-14. However, the Commanders scored another touchdown. They failed the 2-point conversion this time. The score was 30-20 and the pressure was on the Bears once again.
The Bears were struggling offensively again. On defense, Washington became much more aggressive. They blitzed a lot more and Chicago's offense was unable to handle it. After not punting at all in the first half, they punted three times in the second half.
After one of those punts, the Commanders marched down the field. However, the Bears' defense made a stop and forced a field goal attempt. It would have cut the lead to one score. However, Joey Slye missed a 46-yard attempt. There was 5:14 left in the game and the Bears held a 10-point lead. The important victory was finally in sight.
Then, on the Bears' drive right after, they did something they didn't do last week -- they continued to try to hit Moore. On third and two, Fields went to Moore for the first down. The Washington defender attempted to get the interception but Fields threw it high so the only one who could catch the ball was Moore. He did, and he ended up being all by himself. He practically walked into the end zone for a 56-yard touchdown. Everyone could breathe now, knowing that the game was over and so was the losing streak. The Bears added another field goal after the Commanders turned the ball over on downs.
The celebration was on and the misery was over. No, the victory doesn't make them contenders. However, it lets them breathe more and now that they have that monkey off their back they could play up to their talent. This could turn the season around and show that they really are on the right path of improvement.
One thing that really helped the Bears' defense was the pressure they put on Howell. After recording just two sacks in the first four games, the unit exploded for five sacks against Washington. They also harassed him on a number of occasions. They were aggressive, blitzing a lot more than they have in other games. They forced an interception and forced that fumble. It was great to see the defense, which recorded just four turnovers in four games, had two in this game.
The Bears not only had to hold off the Commanders' second-half onslaught they also had to overcome injuries. The team was already without Eddie Jackson, Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, and Jaquan Brisker dealing with injury. Then, during the game, they suffered more injuries. Center Lucas Patrick and running back Roschon Johnson each suffered concussions. Additionally, Khalil Herbert went down with an ankle injury while Travis Homer suffered a hamstring injury. With D'Onta Foreman inactive, that meant that the only person left in the backfield was fullback Kari Blasingame.
Despite having bodies seemingly falling after each play, the Bears were able to hold on for dear life and finish the job. This was an incredible victory and getting it in this game felt like watching the Chicago Cube win Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. It felt like everything was going to fall apart again, but ultimately they came through and took the monkey off their back. Watching them celebrate the victory in the locker room elicited a great victory. Hopefully this is the springboard to a turnaround.
Next up for the Chicago Bears is a home game against the Minnesota Vikings. They currently have just one win but have one of the best offenses in the NFL. They have the third-ranked passing attack and lead the league in passing touchdowns. However, they will give you opportunities for turnovers. Additionally, they rank 21st in passing defense and 25th in passing touchdowns. This could be a shootout.