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5 Takeaways: Bears end losing streak in satisfying fashion

9 months agoChris Emma

Finally, the losing streak is over. The Bears have won once again. 

 

The Bears earned a 40-20 win over the Commanders on Thursday night in Washington, producing a hard-fought performance that snapped a franchise-worst skid. Chicago won its first game in 346 days and made a strong impression in primetime. 

 

Here are the five takeaways from a gutsy win by the Bears. 

 

1. Bears’ 1-2 punch comes alive 

 

Facing third down and short with the game on the line, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy prioritized getting the football to the Bears’ top playmaker. 

 

Quarterback Justin Fields dropped back and fired a strike to DJ Moore, who hauled in the pass and ran 56 yards for his 3rd touchdown of the game – a score that sealed this victory for the Bears. 

 

Moore finished with 8 receptions for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns in a standout performance that led the Bears to victory. Fields was 15-of-29 for 282 yards and 4 touchdowns.  

 

Getsy, Fields and even Moore have stated their belief that the Bears were close to finding their identity offensively. Even during the struggles early this season, they were confident in what could be coming. 

 

“A lot of explosive plays,” Moore said. 

 

The Bears suddenly have that firepower offensively that was missing. 

 

On a third-and-2 on the Bears’ opening drive, Fields connected to Moore for a 58-yard connection. Three plays later, he hit Moore in the corner of the end zone for a 20-yard strike to open the game with a score. 

 

The Bears made an increasingly rare call by electing to receive the opening kickoff once they won the coin toss, intent on starting this game with a touchdown. Fields and Moore delivered on those hopes. 

 

Early in the second quarter, Fields hit Moore for an 11-yard touchdown with an outstanding catch in the corner of the end zone. The Bears started this game with a 17-0 lead and dominance on offense. 

 

Moore’s presence became especially important late in the fourth quarter as Fields was leading an offense missing a running back. Khalil Herbert (right ankle), Roschon Johnson (concussion), Travis Homer (hamstring) and D’Onta Foreman (inactive) were all sidelined as the Bears looked to secure a victory.  

 

On that pivotal third-and-2 play in a 30-20 game, Getsy prioritized getting the football to Moore. Fields delivered a tight spiral over a defender. Moore took it for a 56-yard touchdown to seal this victory for the Bears. 

 

As Moore ran all alone down the Bears’ sidelines at FedEx Field, there was a feeling of euphoria for a team that finally felt victory was inevitable.  

Dj Moore Catching Bears Td

 

2. Fields feeling it 

 

Eleven days ago, after the Bears were obliterated by the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, it seemed inevitable the change was coming for Chicago – that it would be time for another change at quarterback. 

 

Fields has produced a pair of stellar performances since, throwing for 617 yards and 8 touchdowns in two games over a four-day span. He has been in command of the Bears’ offense, utilizing his dual-threat abilities and changing the narrative for his future. 

 

Last Sunday, Fields was 28-of-35 for 335 yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception as the Bears blew a three-score lead and lost 31-28 to the Broncos at Soldier Field. It was Fields’ best performance in the NFL but came in a devastating loss for his team. 

 

“To be honest, I’d rather throw for 50 yards and 3 picks and go win the game than what happened on Sunday,” Fields said this week. “At this point, winning is just the No. 1 thing on my mind. I’d rather do that than accomplish any individual goal or individual statistic that there is.” 

 

On Thursday night, Fields produced another strong showing and was the reason why the Bears won this game. With an absent running game and a depleted defense, the Bears needed Fields to elevate this team. He did just that. 

 

Fields has altered the perception of his pivotal third year in the NFL through just these two games. Facing the pressure to perform and secure a long-term future as the Bears’ franchise quarterback, Fields was once counted out. He now is shining and back on track with his progression for the future. 

 

Fields deserves the benefit of the doubt. He has earned the belief moving forward.  

 

3. Eberflus’ win to savor 

 

If the Bears had lost this game Thursday night – whether it was the lackluster performance that many skeptics expected or squandering another late lead – there was a looming possibility Eberflus could be fired as head coach. 

 

The Bears could’ve been 0-5 in a season with heightened expectations, having extended their franchise-record losing streak to 15 games, and Eberflus’ record at the end of it would’ve fallen to 3-19. He seemed to recognize that difficult scenario early in this season filled with adversity. 

 

“I’ve been doing this 32 years, so I understand the business,” Eberflus said on Wednesday when asked about his job security. “But I understand that to do it right, you got to focus on your job and you got to focus on right here, right now.” 

 

Preparing on a short week and playing through a firestorm, the Bears revealed character on Thursday night. That’s a credit to Eberflus, who lived up to his word and stayed focused on the task at hand. 

 

Eberflus has now won just 4 of his 22 games as head coach, but this one was undoubtedly the most satisfying of his tenure. It’s a victory that can be a catalyst for a turnaround. It’s a win that showcased the best of what he is building for the Bears. 

 

This was a win that reminded what Eberflus brings as a leader for the Bears, and it’s reassuring proof that this team can find success under his watch. 

 

4. The Brotherly Shove 

 

Given their prior problems executing in short yardage, the Bears took a page out of the Eagles’ playbook. 

 

The Bears have incorporated the Eagles’ quarterback sneak play, which has drawn the nickname of the “Tush Push” or the “Brotherly Shove.” It’s a quarterback sneak with a push from behind – a design that offers some extra force forward. 

 

The Eagles have mastered it with quarterback Jalen Hurts, making it a staple of their offense since last season. It’s notable that the Bears have added this into their offense after coming up short last week. 

 

Facing a fourth-and-1 late in the fourth quarter last Sunday, the Bears ran a read option play with Fields handing off to Herbert. The run was stuffed short and flipped this game to the Broncos, who beat the Bears 31-28. 

 

The Bears ran this designed sneak three times on Thursday night, converting a first down each time.  

 

Perhaps it’s only fair that the Eagles lend a play to the Bears. The famous “Philly Special” touchdown from Super Bowl LII was first run by the Bears weeks earlier in the 2017 season finale. 

 

5. Won for ‘51’ 

 

Two hours prior to kickoff in Washington, tragic news broke out of Los Angeles. Dick Butkus, a legendary linebacker for the Bears and one of the franchise’s greatest players, had died at the age of 80. 

 

Butkus died peacefully in his sleep overnight, the family said in a statement released through the Bears. The great Butkus was present for the season opener Sept. 10 at Soldier Field and Eberflus had welcomed him back at Halas Hall to meet with the team during his tenure. 

 

“Dick was the ultimate Bear, and one of the greatest players in NFL history,” Bears chairman George McCaskey said in a statement. “He was Chicago’s son. He exuded what our great city is about and, not coincidently, what George Halas looked for in a player: toughness, smarts, instincts, passion and leadership. He refused to accept anything less than the best from himself, or from his teammates. When we dedicated the George Halas statue at our team headquarters, we asked Dick to speak at the ceremony, because we knew he spoke for Papa Bear.  

 

“Dick had a gruff manner, and maybe that kept some people from approaching him, but he actually had a soft touch. His legacy of philanthropy included a mission of ridding performance enhancing drugs from sports and promoting heart health. His contributions to the game he loved will live forever and we are grateful he was able to be at our home opener this year to be celebrated one last time by his many fans. 

 

“We extend our condolences to Helen, Dick’s high school sweetheart and wife of 60 years, and their family.” 

 

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also released a statement on Butkus’ passing. 

 

“Dick Butkus was a fierce and passionate competitor who helped define the linebacker position as one of the NFL’s all-time greats,” Goodell said. “Dick’s intuition, toughness and athleticism made him the model linebacker whose name will forever be linked to the position and the Chicago Bears.” 

 

It’s only fitting the Bears won this one in honor of Butkus, whose larger-than-life persona will be greatly missed in Chicago. 

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