by Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears went into their game against the Redskins on Monday night hoping that they would be able to spark their offense and get it moving. Washington would not hold the offense back. The defense shined and the Bears beat the Reskins 31-15.
Chicago was red hot in the first half but their defense kind of let go a bit in the second half allowing the Redskins to score two touchdowns and stay in the game. Perhaps it was fatigue or perhaps the Redskins figured the Bears’ defense out. But a win is a win and the Bears need to build upon it to keep winning and get to the playoffs.
Scoring, in this game, started virtually right away as, in the first quarter, Washington quarterback Case Keenum threw a ball right into the arms of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who ran it 37 yards for a touchdown. The Bears were up 7-0 early and momentum was on their side.
Chicago would go up 14-0, in the second quarter, after quarterback Mitchell Trubisky hit wide receiver Taylor Gabriel on a three-yard touchdown pass. The drive began when Washington missed a field goal. The Bears went 58 yards in 11 plays for the score.
The Bears would go up 21-0 on another pass from Trubisky to Gabriel, this one a one yarder following a fumble by the Redskins. The drive was a short one but the play was a big one.
The Redskins got the ball back, but their drive ended thanks to another Keenum interception this one was courtesy of Kyle Fuller. Chicago scored again. The touchdown, another one from Trubisky to Gabriel, was a beautiful 36-yard pass that saw Gabriel get his feet in the right place in the endzone. The play helped keep the momentum going in the Bears’ favor.
It appeared as if Chicago was going to be unstoppable.
The Redskins stole a little bit of that momentum at the end of the half thanks to a 35-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal.
The half would end with the Bears up 28-3.
The second half saw Chicago’s defense regress a little and its offense become stagnant. Still, the Bears started hot as Keenum threw another interception to Clinton-Dix. In the third quarter, following a missed field goal the Redskins marched down to score a touchdown at the end of an eight play, 66-yard drive. Keenum’s pass went to Terry McLaurin for 15 yards.
The two-point conversion failed so the score was 28-9.
The next score would come from Washington as they capped off a 12-play 92-yard drive which began when Josh Norman intercepted Trubisky. Keenum hit wide receiver Paul Richardson from two yards out. Again, the Redskins tried for two and again, the try failed.
The score was 28-15. The Redskins were back in the game.
Chicago managed to get turnover from the Redskins and was able to move the ball down the field on a clock eating 10 play, five-minute 58-yard drive. Chicago capped it off with a 38-yard field goal by Eddy Pinero, who was playing hurt.
That made it 31-15.
That was the final score.
Bears on Offense
The Bears’ offense wasn’t bad or as bad as they have been. They were able to get both the passing and running game going a bit and got Trubisky into a much better place than he had been. Chicago played smart football on offense and made virtually no mistakes (save for some penalties and that interception). If they can clean up some of their carelessness and continue to build on the win, the sky is the limit.
Bears on Defense
The Bears’ defense was at it’s best again, at least in the first half as they allowed just three points. They did break a little bit in the second half allowing two touchdowns mainly because the offense didn’t do that much to help keep the ball out of the Redskins hands. Turnovers were key. The Bears got five total in this game helping them end a drought (they came into this game with just one turnover).
When the defense is on, it’s scary. Let’s hope it continues to be.
You could see that Pinero was hurt last night. He limped out onto the field for his kicks, missed a field goal and generally looked unpleasant. Let’s hope that the Bears don’t lose him for a while. He just needs to rest and be fresh for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. If Pinero can’t recover quick enough, the Bears will be in the market for another kicker.
Head Coach Matt Nagy had the edge in this one. Jay Gruden’s team looked confused and struggled in so many aspects on Monday night. Nagy’s ability to simplify the offense, making things simpler on Trubisky including staying with him over the headset until the cutoff time (15 seconds), really helped.
You could see it working.
Now that these adjustments have been made, will they continue and help make the Bears even better?
Player of the Game on Offense
Believe it or not, this one was a bit hard but it came down to two players. Both Gabriel and Trubisky played well in this game and were the difference on offense. Gabriel’s catch, which was reviewed by the officials, was a thing of beauty and so was the pass. Very accurate.
Let’s hope that Trubisky will be able to repeat this throughout the season.
Player of the Game on Defense
Once again, two players shined in this one. Clinton-Dix and Khalil Mack showed up to play and play they did. Clinton-Dix’ two interceptions (returning one for a touchdown) were huge and came at critical moments. Mack’s play was the stuff of legends and he continues to prove that he is worth all of the effort, draft picks and money that the Bears spent to get him.
There was one player who was deemed out just before the game and that was offensive tackle, Bobbie Massie. He was diagnosed with vertigo and couldn’t play.
The only two players to get hurt during the game, according to the Bears, were Gabriel and Akiem Hicks. Gabriel suffered a concussion and is in the concussion protocol while Hicks hurt a knee. The severity of Hick’s injury is not yet known.
The Bears will play their second home game of the season this Sunday afternoon against division rival Minnesota. The Vikings are coming off of a convincing win versus the Raiders and look to continue pushing forward to keep pace with Green Bay.
The author will be at the game and will have a report on it next week.
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