For the first time since October 24, 2022, the Chicago Bears have won a regular-season football game.
No, that isn’t a typo.
Chicago went into FedEx Field in our nation’s capital on a short week and stunned the Washington Commanders by a score of 40-20. The Bears led all night, at one point holding a 27-3 lead at halftime. Washington was able to cut the score to 27-14 late in the third quarter, and then 30-20 into the fourth. But the offense was able to hold on late, finishing the job with a 56-yard touchdown pass to DJ Moore and a Cairo Santos field goal.
Washington’s offense was out of sync for most of this game, but the box score won’t necessarily show it. QB Sam Howell finished his night going 37/51, 388 passing yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and a QB rating of 46. He was also sacked five times. Their leading receiver was tight end Logan Thomas, catching nine passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Curtis Samuel added six receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown, and runningback Antonio Gibson caught four passes for 64 yards.
For Chicago, it was a revelation on all fronts. Let’s start on offense, where QB Justin Fields built on last week’s performance against Denver. He went 15/29, 282 passing yards, and four touchdown passes. Fields is the second Bears quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw four touchdown passes twice in a season since Jay Cutler did it in 2009. And for two consecutive weeks, Fields has put together two solid performances. In two weeks, he had eight touchdown passes, one interception, 617 passing yards, and 82 rushing yards. But perhaps an even bigger story was wide receiver DJ Moore’s HUGE game. He had 8 catches for 230 yards and THREE touchdowns. He now has the second-most receiving yards in a single game in Bears history, only behind Alshon Jeffery, who had 249 receiving yards against Minnesota in 2013. Moore, in five games as a Bear, now has 531 receiving yards and five touchdown catches on the season. Other top receivers include tight end Cole Kmet, who caught five passes for 42 yards and a touchdown, and tight end Robert Tonyan, who made two receptions for 10 yards. So, it was basically the DJ Moore show.
Even the defense showed out on Thursday night, sacking Sam Howell five times and getting an interception from Greg Stroman Jr. and fumble recovery from Terrell Smith.
But more important than anything on the field, the Bears organization lost a legend earlier that day. Dick Butkus, the Pro Football Hall of Famer who many consider the gold standard for linebackers in his era, passed away at the age of 80 at his home in Malibu, CA. He was born and raised in Chicago, went to Chicago Vocational High School, played his college football at Illinois, and was drafted by the Bears in 1965. In his nine seasons with the team, he was a five-time First-Team All-Pro, eight-time Pro Bowler, and two-time Defensive Player of the Year. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979, his college jersey #50 was retired by the University of Illinois in 1986, and in 1994, his NFL jersey #51 was retired by the Bears, along with Gale Sayers’ #40. He’ll forever be remembered for revolutionizing the linebacker position, and beginning the great history of Bears linebackers from Mike Singletary, to Brian Urlacher, all the way up to Roquan Smith. He was a Bear to the very end, appearing at this season’s home opener against Green Bay. He will surely never be forgotten by Bears fans, Illini fans, and the entire football world. This win was for #51, as the Bears emulated his play on the field on Sunday. Tenacious, fast, physical, and unrelenting. Rest in peace to the great Dick Butkus.
By Jermale Dabney, Junior, Lindblom Math and Science Academy
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