The Washington Commanders ended their four-game losing streak with a 12-7 win over the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football. Here are five takeaways from the victory, presented by the Inaugural Washington Commanders Fan Cruise.
1. The front continues to dominate.
Justin Fields was one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league heading into the Thursday Night matchup, and the Commanders, whose pass rush seems to have found its stride, took advantage of the Bears' offensive line and harassed the young signal-caller.
The Commanders slung down Fields five times, tying last week's mark against the Tennessee Titans. Washington knew it needed to contain the former Ohio State Buckeye if it hoped to secure a win on the road, and it did so by ensuring that Fields rarely had a clean pocket.
The number would have been higher had Fields not managed to slip away from the Commanders' consistent rush and throw the ball away, and even then, he was punished for his athleticism. But it was clear that the pass-rush had Fields addled, and it helped keep the Commanders in the game. Washington set the tone on the Bears' first possession, when sacks from Efe Obada and Daron Payne ended a drive that ended up getting just six yards.
The Commanders now have 19 sacks this season, which ties them for third most in the league. After being steady to start the season, the team's talented pass-rushers are starting to flex their first-round talent.
2. The defense did not break in the red zone.
Technically, the Bears' offense was more productive than that of the Commanders with 392 yards of offense, most of which was spearheaded by 238 yards on the ground. They marched down the field into the red zone three times, getting as close as the 1-yard line twice.
All three drives ended in disappointment for the Bears.
After allowing the Bears to get down to their own 5-yard line in the first quarter, the Commanders were gifted with something they have been searching for since Week 1: a turnover. A pass from Fields bounced off Obada's helmet and popped up in the air. Jonathan Allen was there to catch the deflection, marking his first career interception.
Washington's offense failed to capitalize and punted the ball away five plays later. That led the Bears driving down to the Commanders' 1-yard line, and with one of the best rushing attacks in the league, it was clear that they would try to run in for the score. Cole Holcomb, however, had other plans, and he stood up Khalil Herbert at the goal line for no gain on fourth down.
The final red zone stop ended up being the one that saved the game. Fields had set up the Bears at the Washington 6-yard line with a 39-yard run, and despite four attempts, Chicago failed to retake the lead. The highlight came from Benjamin St-Juste, who wrapped up Darnell Mooney and recorded a tackle at the 1-yard line.
It was not always pretty, but Washington got the job done. In the end, that is all that really matters.
3. Brian Robinson reached another milestone.
Brian Robinson was at what he called the lowest point in his life two months ago after being shot twice in Washington, D.C. Flash forward to Thursday night, and he is now leading the Commanders' ground attack with his physical style.
The Commanders rushed for 128 yards against the Bears, and Robinson accounted for nearly half of that with 60 yards on 17 carries. Robinson was touted by coaches for being a downhill runner who knew how to find space in short yardage situations. That was clear on several runs against the Bears, including a two-yard run on a third-and-1 that gave the offense a fresh set of downs.
But it was most apparent when the Commanders were down 7-6 at the Bears' 1-yard line in need of points. Robinson plowed forward for the score, the first of his career, that ended up giving his team the lead for good.
Robinson looked more comfortable than in his debut against the Titans, and his production when the team needed it most is a good sign for what he can add for the rest of the season.
4. Big plays almost cost the game.
The Commanders were not perfect during the game. Big plays continue to be an issue for the team, and it nearly resulted in a fifth straight defeat.
The first error came in the third quarter on the Bears' opening drive of the second half. Facing a second-and-9 at the Commanders' 40-yard line, Fields aired out a pass to Dante Pettis, resulting in a touchdown that gave the Bears a 7-3 lead.
Washington was able to recover from the miscue with nine points -- a field goal from Joey Slye and Robinson's touchdown -- but it almost gave the game away with Fields' 39-yard run that may have been a touchdown had it not been for Rachad Wildgoose getting Fields out of bounds. Once again, Washington managed to escape disaster, but it did not need to come down to a goal line stand with a win in the balance.
The Green Bay Packers may not have Devante Adams, but Aaron Rodgers is still capable of delivering explosive plays. The Commanders will need to shore up their issues in order to string together another win.
The Washington Commanders are taking on the Chicago Bears for their Thursday Night Football matchup in Week 6. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
5. Back on track.
It has been a rough month for the Commanders. One frustrating loss after the next left several questions about the team's capabilities in a season that was expected to see it take a step forward.
It would not be completely honest to say that all those questions were answered after Thursday's performance. There is still much to be desired from the Commanders, who do have talent but were unable to secure wins for four weeks.
However, the Commanders did prove that their season is not over yet. They fought from start to finish, and they were rewarded with a victory to inch closer to .500.
The team still has plenty of growing to do on both sides of the ball, but Thursday night served as an opportunity to pivot back in the right direction. Sometimes, that nudge is all a team needs.
Click HERE to learn more about the inaugural Washington Commanders Fan Cruise.