The Chicago Bears haven’t made it easy, but they are indeed 2-1 after a Monday Night Football victory over the Washington Redskins.
The Bears managed to keep pace with their divisional foes, as every NFC North team won this week, and they did so by showing that they do have the ability to move the ball offensively (well, more on that momentarily).
As we break down the game, here are the winners and losers from Monday night.
Mack has been one of the best defensive players in the NFL for years now, and he proved his mettle again on Monday, scoring a pair of sacks, two forced fumbles, and three total tackles in the Bears’ victory over the Redskins.
Even when Mack isn’t getting to the quarterback, he’s still providing his teammates with plenty of opportunities to do so, and his ball-hawking approach has been an inspiration to his teammates as well, with the Bears forcing five turnovers on Monday.
Slowly but surely Montgomery is making himself a bigger part of the Bears’ offense, and although he only had 13 carries this week, he did rush for 67 yards, and he reeled off a couple of big runs that showcased his skills in a big way.
One key play came in the fourth quarter as the Bears wore down the clock. Montgomery bounced a run out to the right side, and as the line collapsed, he paused his forward momentum then charged forward for a 25-yard gain.
The play was reminiscent of the way Le’Veon Bell is able to start and stop, and could be a great sign moving forward.
Before leaving the game in the third quarter with a concussion, Gabriel had a coming out party of sorts, hauling in three touchdown catches in the second quarter alone.
His first two touchdown catches were pretty straightforward, as he worked his way into empty territory to score easy short touchdowns, but his third touchdown catch was a thing of beauty, grabbing the ball along the sideline and managing to put both feet down before tumbling out of bounds.
Allen Robinson is rightfully going to get the bulk of the targets for this Bears squad, but Gabriel could be a big key to unlocking Mitchell Trubisky’s potential this season.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Monday was the game that Clinton-Dix had been waiting to have since signing with the Bears. He picked off a pair of passes in the victory, including one in the first quarter that he returned 37 yards for a touchdown.
The Bears’ secondary had a bit of a rough second half, but their attacking style was on full display in the first half, and Clinton-Dix was in the middle of all of it.
Nagy’s Second Half Play-calling
Short fields helped the Bears a bit in the first half, but Nagy’s second-half play-calling left something to be desired, as the Bears managed to gain a total of 136 yards in the final 30 minutes of the game.
132 of those yards came on two drives, but the Bears weren’t able to milk enough off the clock to adequately rest their defense, and it nearly came back to bite them as the Redskins forged ahead with a late comeback attempt.
Nagy has to learn how to more effectively use his running game to work the clock, and David Montgomery is certainly showing him the way forward in that regard.
Overall Team Discipline
If there was one common theme in the game, it was the Bears committing ill-advised penalties at bad times. In all, the Bears committed nine penalties, continuing a disturbing trend of poor discipline that they’ve shown throughout the season.
The defensive penalties were especially tough in this one, as the Bears committed multiple offsides infractions and several other careless penalties that allowed Washington drives to continue.
Those miscues are well and good against teams that are struggling in the standings, but they cannot continue if the Bears are going to go to 3-1 next week against the Vikings.