Everything Is Better When It Ends With A Win

| October 6th, 2023

Amidst swirling rumors that foretold Matt Eberflus’ impending doom, the Chicago Bears shook their fist at destiny and blew out the Washington Commanders on the road. Given that the Bears were 5.5 point underdogs, it’s safe to say that no one expected this result — but this morning? I’m much happier for it all the same. Who doesn’t love a win?

The Bears’ big Thursday Night victory brings up a series of questions the team will look to answer over their next few weeks:

  • Where has this level of play been all season?
  • Now that he’s decidedly not-fired, how long is Matt Eberflus’ leash for the rest of the year?
  • What will it take for Justin Fields to declare himself ‘The Guy’ in Chicago going forward?
  • Has the locker room fully bounced back from the 0-4 start to the season?

But rushing to answer any of these questions too soon could lead to a foolish answer in the long run — for now, let’s all sit back and enjoy a weekend of stress-free football. Cheers!

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:

  • DJ Moore is the offensive weapon that Chicago has dreamt of for years. On 10 targets, Moore caught 8 passes for 230 yards & 3 TDs. Need I say more? He broke tackles, he hauled in difficult passes, he accounted for ~81.5% of Justin Fields’ passing yardage, and he produced throughout all 4 quarters of the game. From start to finish, Moore looked nearly unguardable — in fact, Commanders HC Ron Rivera benched the rookie corner guarding him (Emmanuel Forbes) on account of his struggles. I don’t know if a greater hat-tip exists in the league.
  • Justin Fields followed up his Broncos game with another great day. Fields’ role was more the steward than the superstar role on Thursday Night, but when his 1st passing option plays like DJ Moore played last night I’ll never fault him for feeding his playmaker the ball and getting out of the way. Quintessential quarterbacking.
    • Fields finished the day with another 4 TDs and a combined 339 yards between passing and rushing — he was efficient when throwing downfield & picked up key first downs with his legs, proving that his athletic toolkit can create sustainable offense outside of an over-reliance on splash plays.
    • The most impressive thing Fields did, in my opinion, was keep the Bears out of disaster on offense — Cody Whitehair’s snaps weren’t perfect and there wasn’t always an open man downfield (I assume), but Fields managed to throw away dangerous footballs when necessary and consistently caught the bad snaps, even turning a particularly bad one into a rushing first down. Sometimes a QB’s job is simply to keep the offense on schedule, and that’s exactly what Fields did.
  • No Turnovers from the offense. Hell yeah.
  • Darnell Wright, Nate Davis, Tevin Jenkins, take a bow. The Offensive Line is always hard to pick apart on the live watching, but it seemed as if Fields had consistent pocket time and the Bears ran the ball without issue. Remember, Washington’s Defensive Line is full of stars — for Nate Davis, Darnell Wright, and Teven Jenkins to hold their own like they did is remarkable. Hopefully they can keep it up.
  • Gervon Dexter Sr & the Rookie Class stepped up when needed. Wright has been as good as you can ask a rookie OT to be. Both Bears starting CBs in today’s win came from their 2023 Rookie Class and each player held their own. Gervon Dexter Sr. contributed 3 pressures tonight. It was a banner day for Poles’ latest draft class — hopefully the group keeps it up.

The Bad

  • Tremaine Edmunds, where are you? After signing the Buffalo Linebacker to a massive deal in the offseason, I had higher much hopes Matt Eberflus’ vision of Tremaine Edmunds role in the 2023 defense than what we’ve seen so far. The quick-footed linebacker missed more tackles throughout Thursday Night’s game, and just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse he got hurt. It’s been a tough first quarter of the season for Edmunds — hopefully he bounces back.
  • Injuries, Injuries, Injuries. Too many Bears went down with an injury in this game, from Brisker to Edmunds to ESB to Herbert to Roschon to Homer and on and on and on. Thank goodness the Bears get 11 days to rest — the roster needs that time to heal.

The Ugly

  • What does this say about Chase Claypool? I’m scraping for an Ugly, but it’s shocking to see the offensive roster respond this well in the wake of a teammate effectively quitting on them. Was getting Claypool involved in the offense (and thus running more standard 3-WR sets) a limiting factor on offensive play-calling? Has removing #10 helped simplify things for everyone? Was his lack of blocking ability the Bears’ missing piece all along? We’ll never know answers to questions like these, but two explosive Bears’ performances in his absence leaves all kinds of questions.
  • What does this mean for Matt Eberflus? After Peter King & others hinted that the Bears’ Head Coach could be fired

Postgame Podcast:

Nick and I recorded a podcast where we talked through the ups, the downs, the ins, and the outs of the Bears’ big Thursday Night win here:

Your Turn: How does it feel to wake up after a Chicago Bears win for the first time in almost a year?

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