LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP)The Chicago Bears can breathe a little easier.
They beat the Washington Commanders 40-20 Thursday thanks to quarterback Justin Fields and receiver DJ Moore to stop a 14-game slide and give themselves the psychological break they needed.
“You know, the only easy day was yesterday, right? That’s what the Navy Seals say,” coach Matt Eberflus said Friday. “And that’s true about NFL football, too. You’ve got to keep pressing, you’ve got to keep moving to get better and making the corrections that you need to make because each opponent is different and everybody’s looking at your weaknesses.”
The Bears (1-4) hadn’t won since Week 7 at New England last season. They’ve been engulfed by drama in recent weeks, with defensive coordinator Alan Williams’ resigning, Fields suggesting he was being overcoached while also blaming himself for his struggles and receiver Chase Claypool being banished.
Blowing a 21-point lead against Denver last week only added to their pain. But they could at least feel better after after beating the Commanders (2-3), with Fields delivering his second straight solid game and Moore setting career highs with 230 yards and three touchdowns.
Eberflus said he might use the mini-break before next week’s game against Minnesota to restructure his defensive staff and bring in someone from the outside. He plans to continue calling plays “right now. But we’ll see where it goes.”
The Bears did make one move on Friday, trading Claypool to the Miami Dolphins after telling him to stay away from the team for the past two games. Chicago also sent a 2025 seventh-round pick to Miami in exchange for a 2025 sixth-rounder.
The offense. The Bears were able to move the ball for the second straight week, going for 451 yards after setting a season high with 471 the previous week against Denver. Chicago had 750 through the first three games.
Against Washington, the Bears also broke off their four longest plays of the season. Fields had completions to Moore of 58, 39 and 56 yards, and Khalil Herbert had a 34-yard run.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The pass rush. Though the Bears had five sacks against Sam Howell after registering a league-low two through the first four games, most came after they built a comfortable lead. They had two through the first three quarters. Keep in mind, Howell has been sacked 29 times and leads the league, with the New York Giants’ Daniel Jones second with 22.
Fields. He threw for 282 yards and four touchdowns to match a career high he set in the previous game. He also ran for 57 yards, including a rush for a first down late in the third quarter after tipping the ball to himself following a high snap.
In the last two games, Fields has thrown for 617 yards and eight touchdowns with one interception. He had three TDs and got picked off four times in the first three weeks.
WR Darnell Mooney. For the third time this season, Mooney did not catch a pass. He has just eight receptions for 104 yards, putting him on pace for a career-low 354. He finished with 493 yards in 12 games last year after setting a personal best with 1,055 in 2021 – his second season.
Though Herbert said he expects to “be okay” after injuring his ankle, Eberflus didn’t seem as sure. Asked if it could be a long-term injury, he said: “We’ve got to see it when he’s in here with the doctors. We’ll just assess it as it goes. We certainly hope it isn’t. We’ll see. We don’t have that answer yet.” … C Lucas Patrick (concussion), rookie RB Roschon Johnson (concussion), WR Equanimeous St. Brown (hamstring) and RB Travis Homer (hamstring) left the game. LB Tremaine Edmunds received medical attention late and walked off the field.
230 – With 230 yards, Moore came close to a franchise record. The only Bears player with more yards receiving in a game was Alshon Jeffery with 249 at Minnesota on Dec. 1, 2013. Moore has 16 catches for 361 yards and four TDs the past two games, compared to 11 for 170 and one score the first three weeks.
The Bears will try to make it two in a row when they host Minnesota on Oct. 15.
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