The Commanders opened the second half with a touchdown on their first drive, but the deficit proved too big as the Bears held on 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 dropped to 2-3 with the loss.
The Bears had enough of the negativity, of the outside noise, of the heartbreak they had endured for 11 straight months. On a short week with no time to waste on distractions, Chicago ended its 14-game losing streak and beat the Commanders on the road.
Last week, Fields felt the Bears’ offense was finally beginning to show its identity. After a lightning-fast start and third-quarter lull, Chicago showed it could finally put away an opponent and leave nothing in doubt in the final minutes of the game.
One week after giving up 21 points en route to a devastating loss, the Bears’ 20-point win is tied for the fourth largest in NFL history by a team entering on a double-digit losing streak.
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 catch over Commanders cornerback Kendall Fuller and first-half stat line (five catches, 137 yards, 2 TDs ) helped the Bears build a 24-point lead going into the half and even had LeBron James marveling at the receiver’s explosiveness on X. Moore’s fourth-quarter touchdown — his third of the game — put the game away for Chicago on a night when he notched the second-most receiving yards in a game (230) by a Bears receiver.
Encouraging trend: The Bears sacked Commanders QB Sam Howell five times — which is great considering the team had only two sacks in its four previous games — but two of those were generated by linebacker T.J. Edwards and cornerback Greg Stroman Jr. (who also recorded the team’s first interception of the season against a starting quarterback). Chicago remains committed to pressuring with its four down linemen, but the line didn’t break through until Yannick Ngakoue brought down Howell on second-and-9 in the fourth quarter. DeMarcus Walker and Rasheem Green recorded two more sacks late.
QB breakdown: Fields became the first Bears quarterback to throw for three or more touchdowns in back-to-back games since the 1970 merger. He built upon his three good quarters against the Denver Broncos and has completed 43 of 64 pass attempts for 617 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception in his past two games, complete with a 131.2 passer rating. Most importantly, Fields didn’t let a slow start to the second half hinder him from putting the game away when he found Moore for a 56-yard touchdown with 4:18 to play.
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 sabotaged yet another game.
The Commanders allowed at least 30 points for a fourth consecutive game in losing to the Chicago Bears 40-20 on Thursday night. The Commanders (2-3) have lost three consecutive games, including their past two home games by a combined 77-23 score.
It’s one thing to lose at home to Buffalo; it’s another to lose at home to previously winless Chicago. Considering the Commanders have a young quarterback in Howell, the defense needed to provide a lot more. Instead, it gives up big plays and has not caused a turnover in the past two games.
The defense talked all offseason and summer about starting fast, knowing that the unit added only one new starter in linebacker Cody Barton, in addition to first-round corner Emmanuel Forbes. But the Commanders have been bad. Thursday, they allowed an offense that ranked 21st entering the game in both points and yards to score a season-high 40 points and gain 451 yards. Washington needs to make it work with this group. It had 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.
Troubling trend: Washington’s defense continues to allow too many big plays. The Commanders entered having allowed 13 plays of 25 yards or more, tied for worst in the NFL. Then they allowed three more in the first half alone Thursday night en route to a 27-3 deficit. A huge culprit has been a secondary that has looked inconsistent. Rookie Emmanuel Forbes, who was benched in the second half, has struggled mightily allowing big plays. There were, once more, big gaps in coverage that Fields exploited.
Troubling trend, part 2: Poor pass protection. This has been 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 of the problems stem from Howell needing to progress through his reads quicker. But the line has been too inconsistent in this area and needs to provide more help for a quarterback who now has six starts to his résumé.
QB breakdown: Howell’s growth remains pivotal to the franchise’s future. Howell showed, once more, that he’s 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 with underneath throws, and though the Commanders lost, he continued to show he can be developed. Speeding up his progressions and learning to protect himself from hits should be points of emphasis going forward.
Next game: at Atlanta Falcons (1 p.m. ET, Oct. 15)