The jokes were already rolling out on Twitter last Thursday during the Denver Broncos-Indianapolis Colts game.
“Next week it’s Bears-Commanders.”
These aren’t two of the best teams in the NFL, in fact, they each look like they could be fighting for last in their respective divisions. But, it’s still an NFL game, it’s still our favorite team, so we’ll be watching.
Can the Chicago Bears build on the fight they showed Sunday? The fight that allowed them to crawl back from an 18-point deficit?
Let’s see what’s standing in their way.
SB Nation site: Hogs Haven
Record: 1-4, fourth in the NFC East
Last week: 21-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans
Game day, time, TV: Thursday, 7:15 p.m. CT, Amazon Prime
Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Chicago is a 1-point home favorite. The total is set at 38.
Bears all-time record against: 24-26-1, including postseason
Historical meetings: The last time these teams met on a Thursday night (and the only time) was back in week 14 of the 2007 season.
Each team cycled through two quarterbacks as starters Jason Campbell and Rex Grossman were replaced by Todd Collins and Brian Griese, respectively.
That’s four Bears quarterbacks in one Thursday night game. Wow.
The game featured 11 punts, two interceptions (both by Griese, on consecutive Bears’ drives), a fumble and three missed field goals.
Washington won 24-16.
Last meeting: Week 3 of the 2019 season, when optimism was still high, the Bears went to Washington for a Monday Night Football tilt.
Mitch Trubisky threw three second-quarter touchdowns, all to Taylor Gabriel.
That was all they needed, as the defense intercepted Case Keenum three times (twice by HaHa Clinton-Dix, who returned one for the first score of the game), and sacked him four times.
The Bears added only a late field goal and coasted to a 31-15 win.
Injury report: Remember that on a short week, practice reports are based on what would’ve happened had they actually practiced. They’re basically Jonathan Frakes.
Washington listed 10 players on their Tuesday “injury report.”
- WR Dyami Brown (groin)
- CB William Jackson (back)
- QB Carson Wentz (shoulder)
- CB Christian Holmes (hamstring)
- LB David Mayo (hamstring)
Did not participate
- S Percy Butler (quad)
- T Sam Cosmi (finger)
- WR Jahan Dotson (hamstring)
- TE Logan Thomas (calf)
- RB Jonathan Williams (knee)
Offense: Washington comes into the game ranked 26th in points and 19th in yards.
Their passing offense ranks 10th and their rushing offense ranks 28th.
Carson Wentz (62.9 pct cmp/1,390 yds/10 TD/6 INT) continues to play at his level, which is kind of hard to explain. But from the little I’ve heard from Washington, it seems like Wentz might have already alienated some and hasn’t played well enough to quiet the doubters that have followed him from his last two NFL stops.
His weapons include the ever-dangerous “Scary” Terry McLaurin (19 rec/326 yds/1 TD), Curtis Samuel (32/281/2), RB J.D. McKissic (24/159/0), RB Antonio Gibson (16/134/0), TE Logan Thomas (13/106/1) and TE John Bates (9/73/0).
Thomas probably won’t play, neither will rookie touchdown machine Jahan Dotson (12/152/4) and we’ll see about speedster Dyami Brown (3/111/2).
Washington’s ground game has been lackluster, led by Antonio Gibson (56 att/179 yds/2 TD). Wentz (17/77/0) and McKissic (17/65/0) are the second-leading rushers. However, the team is looking for a boost from rookie Brian Robinson Jr. (9/22/0), who returned Sunday from an offseason bullet would.
Defense: The Washington defense ranks 25th in points allowed and 17th in yards.
The defense ranks 19th in passing yards allowed and 14th in rushing yards allowed.
Even without Chase Young, this defensive line still has some men who can get after the quarterback.
They are top four in the league in pressure percentage and seventh with 14 sacks.
2021 first-round pick Jamin Davis (3 sk/2 TFL/3 QB hits), Jonathan Allen (2.5 sk/7 TFL/5 QB hits), DT Daron Payne (2.5 sk/4 TFL/7 QB hits), and Montez Sweat (2 sk/10 QB hits/4 TFL) are a wrecking crew.
Especially up the middle where their DTs are beasts and could make for a long night against Lucas Patrick and Sam Mustipher.
Elsewhere though, this defense isn’t quite as stacked. LB Cole Holcomb (47 tkls/1 PD/1 TFL/1 QB hits), S Darrick Forrest (1 INT/1 FF/3 PD), CB Kendall Fuller (20 tkls/4 PD) and S Bobby McCain (23 tkls/1 PD) have been standouts for them so far.
Key matchups: Washington has a great defensive line, but outside of their pass rush, they’ve been middling this year.
This is a huge test for the Bears offensive line, which played better Sunday against the Vikings, but is still trying to find its way and fight through injuries.
If the middle of the line, particularly Mustipher, Patrick and Tevin Jenkins can win more pass reps than lose, Justin Fields should have time to build on his performance from Sunday.
The wide receivers, even with as lackluster of a group as Chicago has, should find some favorable match ups. The Commanders have allowed the second-most touchdown passes this season (11) and have just one interception.
The defense has to force Wentz into mistakes. He’s been sacked 20 times this season, which is two more times than Justin Fields. Wentz has thrown the second-most interceptions this season, trailing only Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford.
- Opponent passers have a 103.7 rating against Washington.
- Wentz has thrown the second-most interceptions, but is also tied for the fifth-most touchdown passes.
- The Commanders have the third-most pass attempts in the league. A suggestion that they are playing from behind a lot or that they have an ineffective run game?
- Washington’s defense hasn’t had a turnover since week one against the Jaguars, which was also their only win of the season.
- Washington is tied for the sixth-most penalties and fourth-most penalty yards.
- The Commanders defense can get off the field. They ae fifth on third downs, allowing opponents just 30.4 percent of their third down attempts.
- Washington has just two rushing touchdowns on the season.
- The Commanders have allowed 30.5 points per game on the road vs. just 22.3 points at home this season.
What needs to happen for the Bears to win Thursday? Can they get a big win at home?