Commanders vs. Bears score, takeaways: Washington finishes four-game slack, beats Chicago thanks to goal-line standings

Carson Wentz and the Washington Commanders returned to the Victory Column Thursday night when they defeated the Chicago Bears 12-7 in a thrilling final. The Bears had a chance to score the game-winning fourth-place touchdown and goal with just seconds left, but Darnell Mooney couldn’t catch a Justin Fields pass at the goal line.

Carson Wentz completed 12 of 22 passes for 99 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Justin Fields completed 14 of 27 passes for 190 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and also rushed for 88 yards. Rookie running back Brian Robinson recorded his first career start for Washington, and he ran 17 times for 60 yards to get the winning score.

In a way, this was a two-half story. With the way Washington and Chicago played their first two quarters, it looked like we might not see a touchdown for Thursday night’s second straight game. The only points scored in the first half came via a Commanders field goal — the result of a nine-play, 57-yard drive and 32 penalty yards. In the second half, however, things got a bit more open.

Early in the third quarter, Fields hit Dante Pettis with a deep 40-yard pass for the game’s first touchdown. Wentz then went to work with a sense of urgency, going for 65 yards in 13 games. However, Scott Turner’s offense stalled in the red zone and the Commanders had to settle for their second field goal of the game. Washington’s offensive was not well received, so the special teams had to step in at a crucial stage.

The next time Washington possessed the ball, Wentz and Co. went in threes. Punter Tress Way kicked the ball low and Bears rookie returner Velus Jones missed the punt just yards from his own end zone. It was restored by Washington, and Robinson scored his first career result two games later to take a 12-7 lead.

With just 1:49 left in the fourth quarter, five points down, Fields and the Bears took the offensive. After a 13-yard rush from David Montgomery, Fields climbed 39 yards to reach Washington’s 5-yard line. Chicago had four games to try to smash it in but couldn’t.

Let’s take a look at what happened in Chicago on Thursday night.

Why the commanders won

If you just look at the box score, it doesn’t look like Washington won this game. That’s because the commanders came out big in big moments. The special teams recovered a musty punt in the fourth quarter that led to Washington’s only touchdown of the game, and then the defense shone at key moments.

The Bears only scored seven points Thursday night. It should have been more, but this commander’s defense held strong with his back to the wall and with the game on the line. Chicago had four chances in the fourth quarter to gain 5 yards and win the game, but failed to succeed. Darrick Forrest broke up a pass in the end zone in third place and goal, and then Benjamin St-Juste called the game in fourth place and goal with his save stop. We’ll talk about that a little later.

Why the bears lost

The Bears totaled 392 yards of offense compared to the Commanders’ 214 yards, but still scored five points fewer. Do you know what was important? The offensive play-calling and then falling apart in the red zone.

The Bears went 2-2 in the red against the Minnesota Vikings last week, but two games ago they went 3-0 in the red against the New York Giants — and it cost them the game. The Bears took their red zone struggles to a new level Thursday night when they went 0-on-3 FROM WITHIN WASHINGTON’S 5-YARD LINE. That’s right, the Bears had the ball inside the Commanders 5-yard line three times Thursday night and walked away with ZERO points.

Fields threw an interception on the first drive inside the 5; The Bears were stopped in fourth place at the 1-yard line in the second quarter, and then Chicago failed to get the game-winning score in the final stanza. Seriously, the Bears would be 4-2 instead of 2-4 if they knew what to do in the red zone.

There’s talk about the Bears’ offense in general and how they’ll handle Fields as quarterback, but this game boiled down to red-zone performance.

turning point

This game came down to the last game. Fourth and goalscorer, St-Juste made that stop at Mooney. It looked like the Bears wideout was over the goal line for a moment, but he hadn’t established possession. When Mooney came down, he staggered in the pass but ended up wide and was not over the goal line. It has been said that football is a game of customs.

game of the game

Without that game, the Bears would never have had a chance to win the game by fourth goal. With 1:06 left in the game, Fields fought for 39 yards to take the 5-yard line from Chicago to Washington. This was a pretty incredible sequence that didn’t matter in the end as the bears failed in the red zone.

What’s next

The Commanders return to Washington next week where they will host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers next Sunday. The Packers host the New York Jets this weekend. As for the bears, they’ll remain in the prime-time spotlight next week. They travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots in Monday Night Football. Bill Belichick takes on his former team at the Cleveland Browns this Sunday.

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