by MADDIE TOPLIFF
Bears wring out Washington on the road
No offense to anyone involved in scheduling NFL games, but when I think of Monday Night Football, a Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears matchup does not immediately come to mind as the most riveting of choices. But WOO, folks — I judged too quickly. We were in for a treat.
Cause for alarm?
Eyes were on the Bears front office this week as reports of an Eddy “Dinero” Piñeiro knee injury surfaced. But no additional kickers showed up on the roster, and Piñeiro was spotted on the field Monday afternoon warming up — just hours before game time. After a game-winning kick last week against the Broncos, we can’t survive without him. He is money, after all.
The Trubisky trials
Two lackluster weeks of Mitch Trubisky play has prompted discussion about the team’s overall Super Bowl chances — if you can’t beat the Redskins, then who can you beat? But a couple glimmers of hope late in the 4th quarter against the Broncos convinced me to not rule him out just yet. We’re no fair weather fan.
Redskins roughing it
Washington entered Monday night’s game 0-2, losing two close games against fellow NFC East division rivals: the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. Still, the Redskins’ mediocre offense just doesn’t logistically stack up against the Bears defense. That’s simply facts. Their backup quarterback-turned-starter tossup between Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins also hasn’t been ideal, but necessary, after losing Alex Smith to a ‘horrific’ leg injury, which has yet to reveal itself as career-ending or not. Trubisky isn’t on fire yet, but he’s also not sidelined, so I count my blessings.
This is what you’re here for, isn’t it? Me too. Let’s get into the game because I can barely hold back my excitement.
Chicago’s first drive ate up some clock but ended in a Trubisky sack and punt. The good news? Trubisky was stringing together quite a few passes. The better news? Barely a minute into Washington’s drive, Bears safety Ha-ha Clinton-Dix picked off QB Keenum and ran that ish back 37 yards for a pick six. And the defense didn’t stop there — Chicago LB Khalil Mack tackled Keenum for a 14-yard loss in the very next series. The rest of the quarter was pretty standard stuff save for a handful of defensive penalties — the Bears’ biggest area of improvement on the night.
The Trubisky triumphs
Second quarter started, and the Bears defense picked up from where they left off with an 11-yard sack courtesy of LB Danny Trevathan. And thanks to a couple of Redskin blunders, Trubisky was able to take his offense down the field and score his first touchdown of the season soon after: a 3-yard pass to WR Taylor Gabriel. 14-0 Bears. Washington barely got to breathe before their possession was ruined by Mack himself — a 9-yard sack turned into a Chicago fumble recovery which turned into another Trubisky-Gabriel collaboration in the end zone. 21-0 Bears. Poor Keenum could not catch a break, though; he was intercepted by CB Kyle Fuller two plays after Chicago’s kickoff.
Are you kidding?
The play of the game arrived just before halftime and featured a 36-yard grab from Gabriel; his third TD of the night. Trubisky’s throw was a thing of beauty, but Gabriel’s athleticism proved referees wrong — an incomplete pass call was reversed in favor of a Chicago TD. It was the best toe-dragging I’d ever seen to date. The half ended 28-3 Bears after a late Redskins field goal.
The Redskins came out faster and more furious in the second half, managing to score a touchdown in both the third and fourth quarter, but it wouldn’t be enough to best their visiting foes. Final score: 31-15 Bears — the second straight road win of the season.
-Chicago defense is almost already Super Bowl ready. Now the offense just needs to meet them where they’re at. 21 of Chicago’s 31 points were courtesy of turnovers. That’s insane.
-Silly penalties have consequences. It’s established that the Bears defense is unworldly, but careless mistakes due to cocky behavior cost us yards. They have to be more careful.
-We can’t count Mitch out yet. Three passing touchdowns on the night is nothing to snipe at.
Maddie’s Monster of the Game
No question. Gabriel earned his title as Monster of the Game, becoming only the third player in NFL history to score three receiving touchdowns in the first half. We wish him a speedy recovery after he exited the game due to a concussion.
The Packers retain their first-place position in the division with a win over the Denver Broncos while the Vikings move to 2-1 after besting the Oakland Raiders. The Lions move to 2 wins as well after besting the Eagles. A good weekend for the NFC North.
The Bears return home this weekend to face the Vikings in divisional play, which won’t be a nice and easy fight. The Bears successfully knocked the Vikings out of postseason play in front of a Minnesota home crowd the last time they met. I smell revenge.
Catch the game on CBS at 3:25pm CST this Sunday — you know I will be. As always, readers, Beardown until next time.