Landover, Md. — Justin Fields And the Chicago Bears put on a first-half show in Thursday’s 40-20 victory over the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field.
The Commanders opened the second half with a touchdown on their first drive, but the deficit proved too big as the Bears looked to snap a franchise-worst 14-game losing streak that dated back to last season.
The win moved Chicago to 1-4 on the season. Washington drops to 2-3 with the loss.
The Bears had enough negativity, outside noise, they endured 11 months of heartbreak. In a short week without wasting time on distractions, Chicago ended its 14-game losing streak and defeated the Commanders on the road.
Last week, Fields felt the Bears’ offense was finally starting to show its identity. After a lightning-quick start and a quiet third-quarter, Chicago showed it could put an opponent away and ultimately leave nothing in doubt in the final minutes of the game.
A week after dropping 21 points en route to a devastating loss, the Bears’ 20-point victory tied a team with a double-digit losing streak for the fourth-largest in NFL history.
Buy/sell a breakout performance: DJ Moore Found the end zone on two of Chicago’s five scoring drives in the first half. His Randy Moss-like catches on commanding cornerbacks Kendall Fuller And a first-half stat line (five catches, 137 yards, 2 TDs) helped the Bears build a 24-point lead going into the half and even surprised LeBron James with the receiver’s explosiveness at the X. Moore’s fourth-quarter touchdown — his third of the game — put the game away for Chicago on a night when he accounted for the second-most receiving yards in a game (230) by a Bears receiver.
Passionate trends: Bears commander sacks QB Sam Howell Five times — which is impressive considering the team had just two sacks in its previous four games — but two of those were made by linebackers. TJ Edwards and cornerbacks Greg Stroman Jr. (who recorded the team’s first interception of the season against a starting quarterback). Chicago committed to pressure with its four down linemen, but the line didn’t break until then Yannick Ngakuye Second and 9 in the fourth quarter brought Howell down. DeMarcus Walker And Rashem is green Recorded two more sacks late.
QB Breakdown: Fields became the first Bears quarterback to score three or more touchdowns in back-to-back games since the 1970 merger. He built on his three good quarters against the Denver Broncos and completed 43 of 64 pass attempts for 617 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception over his past two games with a 131.2 passer rating. More importantly, Fields’ slow start to the second half didn’t prevent him from getting out of the game when he found Moore for a 56-yard touchdown with 4:18 left.
Next game: vs. Minnesota Vikings (1 p.m. ET, Oct. 15)
The Commanders’ defense was supposed to provide a foundation while their offense matured. Instead, the defense ruined another play.
The Commanders allowed at least 30 points for the fourth straight game in a 40-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday night. The Commanders (2-3) have lost three straight games, including their last two home games by a combined score of 77-23.
Losing at home to Buffalo is one thing; Losing at home to winless Chicago in Chicago is another matter. Considering the Commanders have a young quarterback in Howell, the defense will have to provide more. Instead, it gave up big plays and didn’t cause a turnover in the last two games.
The defense talked about starting fast all off-season and into the summer, knowing the unit added only one new starter at linebacker. Cody BurtonApart from the first round corner Emmanuel Forbes. But commanders have gone bad. On Thursday, they allowed an offense that ranked 21st in both points and yards entering the game to score a season-high 40 points and gain 451 yards. Washington needs to work with this group. It was a chance to gain momentum with upcoming games at Atlanta and the New York Giants. Instead the team exits this game with many questions about its defense — and its future.
Disturbing trends: Washington’s defense allows too many big plays. The Commanders entered allowing 13 plays of 25 yards or more, tied for worst in the NFL. Then they allowed three more in the first half alone on Thursday night en route to a 27-3 deficit. A huge culprit has been a secondary that looks disjointed. the rookie Emmanuel Forbes, who was benched in the second half, struggled mightily to allow big plays. Once again there were large gaps in coverage which Fields exploited.
Troubling Trends, Part 2: Weak pass protection. It was another season-long problem as Howell was sacked five more times, giving him 29 for the season. The Bears, who entered with two sacks in four games, applied consistent pressure with four-man rushes and blitzes. Some problems require progression from Howell through his quick lessons. But the line has been very inconsistent in this area and will need to provide more support for a quarterback who now has six starts on his resume.
QB Breakdown: Howell’s growth is critical to the franchise’s future. Howell once again showed that he is a resilient and tough quarterback. After a rough first half — 9-for-13, 71 yards and an interception — he threw for 298 yards in the second half. He moved well in the pocket, was patient throwing down low, and even though the commanders were lost, he showed he could develop. Accelerating his progress and learning to protect himself from hits should be emphasized going forward.
Next game: at Atlanta Falcons (1 p.m. ET, Oct. 15)