The Bears can’t lose all of their games, can they?
The Commanders are an intriguing team. Young in some ways, veteran in others. They’ve played a bit up and down but have been in all but one of their first four games.
Anything can happen on primetime and I’m sure viewers and the league are hoping for more offensive power than they saw in last year’s 12-7 contest.
SB Nation site: Hogs Haven
Last week: 34-31 OT loss to the Philadelphia Eagles
Game day, time, TV: Thursday, 7:15 p.m. CT, Amazon Prime
Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bears are 7-point underdogs to the Commanders. The total is 44.5.
Bears all-time record against: 24-27-1, including 4-3 postseason
Historical meetings: Chicago and Washington met on Oct. 1 just one other time. Way back in 1933.
It was the second meeting of these two teams. The Bears came in 1-0 and Washington (they were actually Boston at the time), were 0-0-1.
The game was a slugfest, an old school drag out. It was 0-0 until the fourth quarter when Johnny Sisk ran for a 17-yard score. The Bears won 7-0.
Last meeting: Last year on Thursday Night Football, in week 6, the Bears hosted Washington.
The Bears defense held Washington in check, harrassing Carson Wentz and holding the Commanders to just three points in the first half.
But Chicago’s offense also couldn’t get going.
Finally, in the second half, Justin Fields hit Dante Pettis for a 40-yard touchdown.
After the touchdown, the Commanders reeled off a 13-play, 65-yard field goal drive to make it 7-6.
The Bears punted on their next drive and Washington drove down the field and scored on a Brian Robinson 1-yard rush.
The Bears drove but went for it on fourth down and missed. Washington got the ball back, drove down the field but missed a field goal.
Fields took the Bears down the field 61 yards. They had four shots at the end zone but on fourth down, four and goal from the four, Darnell Mooney caught a Fields pass at the goal line but was tackled just short.
Bears lost 12-7.
Injury report: Four of the six players on Washington’s Tuesday injury report were limited. The other two were full participants.
- CB Christian Holmes (back)
- WR Curtis Samuel (quad)
- WR Jahan Dotson (ankle)
- RB Chris Rodriguez (illness)
Offense: Washington comes into the game ranked 17th in points and 20th in yards.
Their passing offense ranks 20th and their rushing offense ranks 17th.
Sam Howell (67.1 pct. cmp./961 yds./4 TD/5 INT) is off to a promising, if rocky start. He has a lot of weapons, though.
Starting with “Scary” Terry McLaurin (21 rec./212 yds./1 TD), then going to Curtis Samuel (17/178/0), Jahan Dotson (14/110/1) and TE Logan Thomas (9/106/1).
On the ground, Brian Robinson Jr. (61 att./261 yds./3 TD) is carrying it the most, followed by Antonio Gibson (13/54/0). Howell (11/82/1) is able to scramble a little, too.
Defense: The Commanders defense ranks 29th in points allowed and 21st in points allowed.
Their passing defense ranks 20th and their rushing defense ranks 17th.
While those numbers seem low, they’ve played the Bills and Eagles already.
Their unit starts up front with a loaded defensive line featuring Montez Sweat (3 sk/4 TFL/7 QB hits/2 FF), Daron Payne (1 sk/5 TFL/4 QB hits/3 PD), Jonathan Allen (2 sk/4 TFL/4 QB hits) and a healthy Chase Young (2.5 sk/4 QB hits/3 TFL).
On the young season, the Commanders already have nine players with at least a half sack.
In the secondary, CBs Kendall Fuller (1 INT/4 PD/21 tkls) and Emmanuel Forbes (1 INT/5 PD/2 TFL) are the top corners. Their top safety is Kamren Curl (37 tkls/1 sk/3 TFL/1 PD).
Key match ups: Perhaps the biggest match up for Chicago will be their offensive line against their defensive line. If Chicago can protect Fields, DJ Moore and the other receivers should find some room to run against a young secondary.
Opposing WRs have the fifth-most yards against the Commanders. They’re also tied for the most TDs allowed to opponents’ receivers with 6.
On defense, Sam Howell has the second-most INTs and has been sacked the most of any QB (yes, a whole seven times more than Fields). If the Bears can’t get a turnover or a sack Thursday, then they’re really going to be doomed.
- Opposing QBs have the third-most rushing yards against the Commanders.
- Justin Fields leads the Bears in broken tackles with five.
- Justin Fields’ QB rating when targeting DJ Moore is 146.5, highest on the team. When he targets Chase Claypool, it’s 26.5.
- Both Washington and Chicago each have eight turnovers on the season. The Bears have two in each game, while the Commanders had five on one game (against the Bills) and three in another (against Arizona).
- The Bears have beat Washington just gour times since 1988 (18 games). Since 2003, they’ve won only once, in 2019.
- Washington ranks 27th in offensive third downs, converting 33.3 percent.
- Despite a very good front four, the Commanders rank 19th in pressure percentage.
- They also rank 19th in blitz percentage.
- The Commanders passing game ranks worse than the Bears in sacks allowed, yards per attempt, AY/A, NY/A and ANY/A.
What do the Bears need to do to win Thursday night? Can they sneak out of Washington with a big upset victory?