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Instant Analysis | Commanders defense holds strong, secures 12-7 TNF win

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Benjamin St-Juste saved the game for the Washington Commanders.

After Joey Slye's 48-yard field goal was sent sailing wide right, the Chicago Bears nearly handed the Commanders their fifth straight loss. Justin Fields, who had been relatively contained for most of the primetime matchup, broke loose on a 39-yard scamper that put his offense at the Commanders' 5-yard line.

But the defense, which had held strong for the entire night, did not break with the game on the line, and with the Bears facing a fourth-and-goal, Darnell Mooney could not secure a bobbling pass with St-Juste wrapped around him before stepping out of bounds.

And with a lunge forward by Carson Wentz after a turnover on downs, the month-long losing skid ended for Washington with a 12-7 victory.

The game pitting Washington (2-4) and Chicago (2-4) was a slog with offensive production coming in spurts. It wasn't until the third quarter that either team found the end zone, and both teams combined for just seven third-down conversions.

But the deciding factor ended up being an area where Washington has struggled all season. For the first time in 2022, the Commanders, who had given away the ball eight times in the past five games, won the turnover battle with an interception on a deflected pass off Efe Obada's helmet that landed in the arms of Jonathan Allen and a muffed punt recovered by rookie Christian Holmes.

The muffed punt could not have come at a more opportune time. The Bears took a 7-3 lead with a 40-yard shot to Dante Pettis. The Commanders had chipped away at the lead with a 28-yard field goal, but with the way the game was going, they needed a break.

Holmes gave them that, and two plays later, Brian Robinson Jr., who led Washington's rushing attack with 60 yards on 17 carries, crossed the goal line for the first time in his career, marking another accomplishment for the rookie who had been shot twice less than two months ago.

From there, the defense did what it had done well all night, and that was keep Fields corralled in the backfield. It might not seem like it, based on the 238 rushing yards the unit allowed, but it did a solid job of controlling the Bears' offense, as the home team was held to 38% on third downs and five straight scoreless drives in the first half.

The Washington Commanders are taking on the Chicago Bears for their Thursday Night Football matchup in Week 6. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)

Fields was sacked five times by the Commanders' defensive line, which now has 19 for the season. They are currently tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the third-most in the league.

A Chicago turnover on downs, followed by 22 yards from the Commanders' offense, set the team up for Slye's 48-yard field goal attempt, but the miss paved the way for the final theatrics of the matchup. The tackle by St-Juste left the Bears scoreless on three trips to the red zone.

After dropping four straight frustrating losses, the Commanders are back in the win column heading into the long weekend. They have the Green Bay Packers up next, and as they prepare for last year's NFC North champion, there are signs that the Burgundy & Gold can get the season back on track.

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