The Chicago Bears rode a ball-hungry defense, efficent quarterback play by Mitch Trubisky, and opportunistic touchdowns by Taylor Gabriel to beat the Washington Redskins 31-15 on Monday Night Football. The Bears improve to 2-1 while pushing the Redskins to 0-3 on the season.
While Chicago kicked off as 5.5-point favorites, there were still many skeptics picking Washington to win the game. The Bears had only scored 19 points in two games prior to their Monday Night matchup.
The Bears offense took the field first, but couldn’t get a prolonged drive out of some quick, short throws from Trubisky. On the Redskins opening possession of the game, Case Keenum threw a touchdown: to Redskins safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix. The safety ran it back 37 yards for the first score of the game.
Later in the quarter, Keenum would drive the Redskins offense all the way to Chicago’s 11-yard line: only to be denied any points. A ferocious defense sacked Keenum, forcing a 4th and 20, 43-yard field goal attempt that narrowly missed.
While the gameplan didn’t change much for the Bears (short throws, screens, loaded backfield runs) they were able to find the endzone in the second quarter. Trubisky had a choice of jogging it in or tossing it to a wide-open Taylor Gabriel, and he opted for the latter as Chicago took a 14-0 lead. The touchdown pass was Trubisky’s first of the season, in his 10th quarter of play.
Momentum stayed with the Bears, as Khalil Mack strip-sacked Keenum on the very next play to set up Chicago with excellent field position. They capitalized, aided by a pass interference call, and Trubisky and Gabriel hooked up again for an uncontested touchdown.
But why would the defense stop there? On the NEXT drive, Keenum was picked off on an athletic play by Kyle Fuller.
And why would Trubisky and Gabriel stop at two touchdowns? As the Bears offense ran its two-minute drill, Trubisky found Gabriel AGAIN: this time a 36-yard touchdown catch. The play was initially ruled out of bounds, but overturned after a booth review, giving Trubisky his 3rd TD pass and Gabriel his 3rd TD catch of the first half.
Washington mustered a field goal before the end of the first half, but the damage was already done. Chicago took a 28-3 lead into the locker room at halftime.
First Half Stats
- CHI Mitch Trubisky: 20-23, 173 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
- WSH Case Keenum: 9-14, 92 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, Fumble Lost
- CHI Taylor Gabriel: 5 catches, 63 yards, 3 TD
- WSH Adrian Peterson: 6 rushes, 23 yards
This was exactly the kind of half that Trubisky and the Bears needed to prove to themselves they can still score.
In a night of curtain calls, Clinton-Dix would not be left out of the party. Why grab one interception when you can snag two? The safety’s second interception of Keenum wasn’t returned for a score, but still a field-shifting 61-yard return.
Keenum would finally find the endzone with a 15-yard passing touchdown to Terry McLaurin. For the rookie wide receiver, he has now hauled in a touchdown in each of his first three career games.
As the Bears threatened for another score, Trubisky committed his first major mistake, an interception thrown to cornerback Josh Norman. Keenum found the endzone again on a scoring drive, converting a 4th-and-goal pass to Paul Richardson. For the second time, Washington missed a two–point conversion attempt, making the score 28-15.
The outcome of the game actually came into question for a moment, as the Redskins were threatening for another score in the fourth. Keenum’s 4th down dive over the top of the defensive line was knocked out of his hands, turning the ball over and effectively ending the game.
Chicago tacked on a field goal to win by a final score of 31-15.
CHI Trubisky: 25-31, 231 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
WSH Keenum: 30-43, 331 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, 2 Fumbles Lost
CHI Gabriel: 6 catches, 75 yards, 3 TD
WSH McLaurin: 6 catches, 70 yards, TD (TD in each of 1st three career games)
The Bears move to 2-1 to keep pace in a tough NFC North division. Next week they host the 2-1 Vikings and will look to leap ahead of their rivals with a head-to-head victory. The Bears next four games after that feature non-divisional opponents.
Washington, though showing promise for parts of all three of their games, moves to 0-3. With Daniel Jones and the Giants winning on Sunday, the Redskins sit alone in the NFC East cellar. They play in New York next Sunday with a chance to pull even with Big Blue.
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