The Washington Commanders emerged victorious after a tightly-contested Thursday Night Football affair, beating the Chicago Bears, 12-7, on a chilly fall night at Soldier Field. Brian Robinson Jr., Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat and Benjamin St-Juste turned out strong performances that helped power Washington to the win. Here's how they played on Thursday night:
Brian Robinson Jr.
One of the best sports comeback stories in recent memory seems to get sweeter by the day. Robinson was tapped to start his first NFL game under the bright lights of Thursday Night Football.
The moment did not rattle the rookie, as he ran 17 times for 60 yards. On the majority of those plays, Robinson showed the qualities that had many so excited throughout training camp. He squared up his shoulders, dug his feet into the ground and hit the gaps running down field to chomp up yardage.
That skillset was potent for the Commanders throughout the night. Robinson helped get his team out of a tough spot while backed up into its own end zone. Short burst after short burst, Robinson's carries boosted Washington as it marched down the field. With under eight minutes to play in the game and the Commanders trailing, Robinson delivered the dagger from which the Bears could not recover. His 1-yard rush, the first score of his career, into the end zone gave his team the eventual game winner.
"Firsts" are not an everyday occurrence when you are as good as Allen and are working on your sixth season in the NFL. So, when they come along, one gets the feeling that they are extra special and deserve a particular moment of pause.
That was the scene with just over two minutes to go in the first quarter last night. The deflected ball of Efe Obada’s helmet allowed Allen to get his first NFL interception and Washington's first takeaway since Week 1. The pick was also the first by a Washington defensive tackle since Daron Payne's interception in Week 15 of the 2020 season vs. the Seattle Seahawks. When the quarter was finished, Allen went over to the crowd and tossed the cherished the ball to his wife, Hannah.
Throughout the game, Allen offered the strong and productive presence he has established his reputation on since arriving in Washington. He capped off his night with an important sack on Fields for a loss of five yards.
Sweat recorded his long-awaited first sack of the season against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday, and the defensive end was forthright about what that play meant for him, calling it "a huge relief." Finally getting that sack under his belt, he told former linebacker London Fletcher, allowed him to play looser and do the things he wanted to do in that game. He did not have to wait much for his second sack of the season as it came in the very next game.
The effects of that big Week 6 performance were obvious last night against the Bears as Sweat terrorized Chicago's offense in a variety of ways. He forced an incompletion and kept Justin Fields at bay in the pocket. He was instrumental in stopping what looked to be an almost certain scoring opportunity for the Bears on the 1-yard line in the second quarter.
And then in the fourth quarter, he notched his third sack of the season, a huge play on Fields for a loss of 13 yards that pushed Chicago out of field goal territory. It was a big-time, primetime outing for the defensive end.
The night came down to a single play for the Commanders, and they were mere feet away from falling for the fifth straight week. But St-Juste was to save the game.
After a mostly quiet but efficient night, St-Juste showed up in heroic fashion to provide what the Commanders desperately needed in the dying seconds of the game: a stop. The Bears had made their third trip to the end zone and had the momentum after a clutch 39-yard run by Fields to put Chicago within six yards of the end zone. The Bears needed no less than a touchdown to win the game, and on fourth down, they looked to have gotten just that.
Fields had found Darnell Mooney near the goal line, and the ball was in the receiver's hands as his feet started to make contact with the grass. Then came St-Juste. At the final moment of the play, the cornerback swooped in to barely push Mooney, who bobbled the ball before securing it at the 1-yard line, out of the end zone and ensured that the Commanders lead was preserved.
The Washington Commanders are taking on the Chicago Bears for their Thursday Night Football matchup in Week 6. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)