Bears Dominate Commanders in Third Consecutive Prime Time Loss

It was the kind of game that could lead to someone getting fired.

On a night when the Washington Commanders desperately needed a resounding victory to wash away the bitterness of a frustrating overtime loss to a division rival just four days earlier, they instead delivered a disappointing performance.

And it happened against the worst team in the NFL.

In front of a packed crowd at FedEx Field.

Thursday night, the Chicago Bears, who had been mired in a franchise-worst 14-game losing streak, ended that streak by soundly defeating the Commanders 40-20. This defeat raises questions about the team’s future and the job security of certain coaches.

All of this unfolded as new owner Josh Harris watched helplessly from his stadium suite.

The damage was extensive. Chicago had eight scoring drives and accumulated 451 yards. This was the fourth consecutive game in which Washington had given up more than 30 points, leading to their third consecutive loss. The Bears didn’t even punt until the third quarter.

“We consider ourselves a top-five defense in the league,” Commanders safety Kam Curl said. “But right now, we’re not playing like it.”

Key Takeaways from the Commanders’ Loss

Just days after Coach Ron Rivera emphasized the need to prevent big plays by their opponents, the Commanders (2-3) did the opposite, allowing the Bears to exploit their defense. And it started right from the beginning.

During the opening drive, cornerback Benjamin St-Juste was beaten by wide receiver DJ Moore for a 58-yard completion along the left sideline on a crucial Bears third down. Then, on third and 14 just three plays later, quarterback Justin Fields connected with Moore again for a 20-yard touchdown.

Second-year safety Percy Butler was caught out of position, leaving the left side of the field vulnerable. Moore slipped past cornerback Kendall Fuller and had a clear path to the end zone.

FedEx Field fell silent as the former Maryland standout Moore was just getting started.

“A slow start, first and foremost,” Rivera said. “We didn’t come out and halt their progress. … It starts with me. We need to be better.”

The Bears (1-4), who hadn’t tasted victory since October 24, 2022, only needed 2 minutes and 56 seconds to dismantle the Commanders. But it got worse, much worse.

Running back Khalil Herbert broke free for a 34-yard run up the middle on Chicago’s next drive, eluding rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr. and setting up a field goal.

Washington’s response? A three-play drive that resulted in a one-yard loss – a true gift. Chicago gladly accepted and Fields once again found Moore on third-and-long early in the second quarter, resulting in an 11-yard touchdown that extended the Bears’ lead to 17-0.

Although little went right for the Commanders’ offense, even less went right for their defense in the first half. The once formidable defensive line was torn apart, the second level was practically nonexistent, and the secondary was in utter disarray.

The only thing preventing the Commanders from being shut out in the first half was a 51-yard field goal by Joey Slye. The only thing that saved their defense from complete collapse was their efforts in the red zone, limiting the Bears to field goals instead of touchdowns.

But any shred of momentum quickly dissipated. After St-Juste stayed close to wideout Darnell Mooney in coverage to force an incompletion in the end zone and a subsequent punt by the Bears, quarterback Sam Howell was intercepted. The Bears promptly scored again.

As the teams headed into halftime with the Commanders trailing 27-3, boos filled FedEx Field. And for good reason. Actually, quite a few reasons.

Washington managed a mere 84 yards compared to Chicago’s impressive 307 in the first half. The Bears had 14 first downs compared to the Commanders’ five and converted 67 percent of their third downs, while the Commanders only managed a 40 percent conversion rate.

“I think some of it is just missed opportunities,” Rivera said of the Bears’ numerous explosive plays. “Sometimes it’s not about going after the ball as much as it is about making the tackle.”

Although the Commanders responded appropriately at the start of the second half, putting together a 75-yard scoring drive that Howell (37 for 51 for 388 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and five sacks) capped off with a two-yard touchdown pass to Logan Thomas, their mistakes continued to undermine any momentum they were able to build. Thomas fumbled on the Commanders’ next drive.

Later in the third quarter, Howell connected with running back Antonio Gibson, who lined up as a wide receiver and gained 41 yards on a catch-and-run. However, two plays later, Howell was sacked after a cornerback blitz by Greg Stroman Jr., a former Washington player who had intercepted Howell earlier in the game.

The Commanders salvaged that drive with a 32-yard field goal (which also drew boos), but the mistakes persisted.

Forbes, who had struggled in the previous game against the Philadelphia Eagles in an agonizing 34-31 road loss, missed a tackle on Moore, allowing him to gain 32 yards just before the end of the quarter. This led to three more points for Chicago, extending their lead to 30-14. By the fourth quarter, Forbes had been replaced by Danny Johnson.

Although Washington closed the gap to a 10-point game with a three-yard touchdown catch by Curtis Samuel, they couldn’t sustain enough momentum to overcome their own errors. In a position to make it a one-score game, Slye missed a 46-yard field goal attempt wide right, causing a portion of the fans to start leaving the stadium.

The exodus continued a few minutes later when Fuller missed a tackle, allowing Moore to score another 56-yard touchdown with a clear path. Moore ended the game with eight catches for 230 yards and three touchdowns.

“Tonight, the Commanders played without intensity or fire,” Magic Johnson, the NBA legend and limited partner of the Commanders, said on social media. “We didn’t compete in the first half and found ourselves down 27-3 heading into halftime. It was too big of a hole to climb out of, and that’s why we ended up losing 40-20.”

After the game, Rivera was asked about the changes the team can make to stop the bleeding. “We’ll see,” he said. “I’m not going to discuss those things until we have a chance to review the tape, … sit down and have a conversation with the staff, and go from there.”


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