The Bears lost 12-7 to the Commanders on Thursday night at Soldier Field due to a number of blunders. These included two turnovers that proved costly and failing to score in the red zone on three separate occasions.
After Commanders kicker Joey Slye missed a 48-yard field goal with 1:49 remaining in the game, the Bears (2-4) got the ball at their own 38 and had a chance to grab the lead. On a left-wing scramble, quarterback Justin Fields gained 39 yards to the Washington 5-yard line. On fourth-and-goal from the 4, though, Fields completed a pass to Darnell Mooney, who was stopped just short of the goal line to preserve the victory for the Commanders (2-4).
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When we didn’t convert on fourth down, our defense stepped up big and forced a failed field goal, as Coach Matt Eberflus put it. We drove it the length of the field to set up a potential game-winning field goal, but we failed to convert.
The Bears didn’t get on the board until the third quarter, despite having two first-half red-zone chances. It was on the second drive of the game that Fields had his pass intended for tight end Cole Kmet intercepted by the Washington defense at the Washington 5-yard line. On third-and-goal from the 1, Fields missed tight end Ryan Griffin and on fourth-and-goal, running back Khalil Herbert was stopped short, leading to a turnover on downs for the Bears.
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The opportunities were in the red zone, and Fields claimed they should have been taken. “That’s the point of the game right there: to end it. Clearly, we were unable to complete the task. Didn’t finish the game after missing a touchdown pass. I gave the ball to [Herbert] on fourth-and-1, but he was unable to convert. Not able to complete the last play.
In retrospect, there were a number of different moves we could have made that would have resulted in a different outcome of the game, but ultimately, we just didn’t finish. If you drive all the way down to the 5-yard line and fail to score, it doesn’t matter how far you drove. When this happens within the 10, it’s the same as a three-and-out and a punt is taken. That’s because it amounts to the same thing. The most important thing is, of course, reaching the end.
The winning touchdown for Washington occurred in the fourth quarter after Bears receiver Velus Jones Jr. muffed a punt at the Washington team’s 6-yard line. The Commanders took a 12-7 lead on a touchdown run by running back Brian Robinson Jr. that covered 1 yard.
Fields threw for 190 yards on 14 of 27 attempts and ran for 88 more. Herbert and David Montgomery, both running backs, racked up 75 and 67 rushing yards, respectively.
Carson Wentz, the Commanders’ quarterback, completed 12 of 22 throws for 99 yards, and Robinson ran the ball 17 times for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Fields completed passes of 15 and 19 yards to tight end Cole Kmet and receiver Dante Pettis, respectively, as the Bears drove downfield on their second possession of the game. Fields attempted to pass to Kmet after they reached the Washington 5, but end Efe Obada tipped the pass, and Washington lineman Jonathan Allen picked it off.
Linebacker Roquan Smith sacked Wentz for a loss of 5 yards on third down, and the Bears’ defense held the Commanders scorelessly. Bears regain possession at their own 30-yard line; running back, Herbert makes a daring, untouched 64-yard dash to the Redskins’ 6-yard line.
Fields missed the tight end, Ryan Griffin, in the end, zone on third down, and the Bears’ best scoring opportunity was gone after Herbert was sacked on the next play.
Slye kicked a 38-yard field goal with 46 seconds left in the first half to give the Commanders a 3-0 lead. Washington’s drive was aided by a 16-yard run from J.D. McKissic, but the Commanders were kept on the field and advanced into Bears territory thanks to passing interference calls against cornerbacks Kyler Gordon and Jaylon Johnson.
With 7:16 left in the third quarter, the Bears took a 7-3 lead on a touchdown pass from Fields to Pettis that covered 40 yards. Fields caught the Commanders with only 11 players on the field on second-and-9, and his quick snap set up a perfect long ball to Pettis in the end zone. On the 9-play drive, the Bears gained 94 yards.
Matt Eberflus, the head coach, reacted with awe. That’s fantastic. We’ve been aiming for it in our opening games, and we’ve finally achieved it. What a sling! Dante made a fantastic catch, and we all know he can throw a mean deep ball.
With 14:51 still on the clock, the Commanders were able to trim the Bears’ lead to 7-6 thanks to a field goal by Slye from 28 yards out. Wentz’s ball was intercepted by Justin Jones of the defensive line on third-and-goal from the 10 to set up a field goal attempt. During the 13-play drive, running back Antonio Gibson gained 43 of the 65 total yards.
Jones muffed the punt that followed a three-and-out by the Bears’ defense, and Washington recovered it at the Bears’ 6-yard line. Two plays later, Robinson blasted it in from 1 yard out. The Commanders scored once and had a chance to extend their advantage by three points, but they missed the extra point, leaving the score at 7–7 with 7:21 to play.
After Fields was sacked on third-and-5 of the ensuing drive, the Bears maintained possession due to unlawful use of hands penalty on cornerback Benjamin St-Juste. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler went for it on fourth down after two incompletions, but a delay of game penalty pushed the score to fourth-and-16. The offense kept the ball, but with 2:28 left, Washington took over when Fields threw an incomplete pass intended for receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette.
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