Thursday, June 20, 2024

Justin Fields, DJ Moore break out as Bears snap 14-game losing streak

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By STEPHEN WHYNO AP Sports Writer

LANDOVER, Md. — Music blared from the Chicago Bears’ locker room after a victory for the first time in almost a year, and players danced and jumped around with joy.

All thanks to Justin Fields and DJ Moore being perfectly in tune.

Fields and Moore connected eight times for 230 yards and three touchdowns to give the embattled Bears their first win of the season, beating the Washington Commanders, 40-20, on Thursday night, just hours after word emerged of the death of franchise great Dick Butkus.

“We just needed a win, get the mojo going in our favor,” Moore said. “It felt amazing to get the first win under our belts.”

Relief was palpable at the end of a 14-game skid dating to last season – since Oct. 24, 2022, the last time they won a game. All the off-field drama the organization has been mired in for weeks melted away in the moments of celebration.

“The feeling that we all had after the game is a feeling that you just never want it to end,” Fields said. “Just proud of the way all the guys came out and played.”

Fields had four touchdown passes to match the career high he set last week, this time coming in a winning effort as Chicago (1-4) jumped out to a 24-point halftime lead and, unlike Sunday, held on.

“He’s a heck of a good, young football player,” Commanders coach Ron Rivera said.

Fields threw for 282 yards and ran for 57 yards, including a rush for a first down late in the third quarter after tipping the ball to himself following a high snap. Moore had 137 yards receiving in the first half alone, becoming the first Bears player to surpass 125 before halftime since at least 2000 and eventually reaching a career high.

“This morning I was nervous – out-of-this-world nervous,” Moore said. “I guess that was my body telling me that we were about to go off.”

It was such an impressive showing that it got the attention of Lakers star LeBron James, who posted on social media: “J Fields and DJ Moore going crazy right now!!! SHEESH!!”

The Bears also got a defensive performance that felt like a fitting way to honor Butkus, the fearsome Hall of Fame linebacker who died at age 80 earlier Thursday. They forced two turnovers and sacked Sam Howell five times in bouncing back from blowing a 21-point lead and losing to Denver.

“We harped all week on finishing,” said Greg Stroman, a former Washington cornerback who picked off Howell. “We do great things as a team. We played well for three strong quarters last week, so just were building off that and that was the message: Build off that and finish.”

Washington (2-3) lost a third consecutive game, this time struggling with missed tackles and blown coverage on defense, while again failing to force a turnover. Couple that with Howell’s interception, and there was a reason the Commanders were booed off the field at halftime by fans who again packed FedEx Field for another sellout.

Their second-half comeback bid fell short, stunted by Logan Thomas fumbling, a later drive stalling in the red zone and Joey Slye missing a 46-yard field goal attempt with five minutes left. Washington got as close as 10 points, but couldn’t end its losing streak and keep Chicago’s going.

“It starts at the top,” Rivera said. “That’s on me.”

LONG DISTANCE

Chicago got its four longest plays of the season: 58-, 39-yard and 56-yard completions from Fields to Moore and a 34-yard run by Khalil Herbert. Three of those came in the first quarter alone.

INJURIES

Bears: Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds received medical attention late and walked off the field. … Center Lucas Patrick and rookie running back Roschon Johnson underwent concussion evaluation during the second quarter and were quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game. … Receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (Servite High) and running back Travis Homer each left with a hamstring injury.

Commanders: Washington lost two key special teams players early in the first quarter. All-Pro Jeremy Reaves left with a knee injury and second-year defensive back Christian Holmes with a hamstring injury. … Defensive tackle John Ridgeway was injured late.

UP NEXT

The Bears host the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 15.

The Commanders visit the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 15.

Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore (2) celebrates during an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Thursday, September 05, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)
Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore celebrates during their 40-20 victory over the Washington Commanders on Thursday night in Landover, Maryland. Moore had eight catches for 230 yards and three touchdowns as the Bears snapped a 14-game losing streak that dates to last season. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)

Fields to Moore again! An early lead for the Bears. @justnfields @idjmoore#CHIvsWAS on Prime Video

Also available on #NFLPlus https://t.co/YCeYJnyJmB pic.twitter.com/cz0PKVSfHl

— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2023

Slick route. Elite throw. The Fields-to-Moore duo is living up to the hype tonight. 👏#CHIvsWAS on Prime Video

Also available on #NFLPlus https://t.co/YCeYJnyJmB pic.twitter.com/c1C05P9oLu

— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2023

🎩 DJ MOORE

🎩 DJ MOORE

🎩 DJ MOORE

A hat trick in his 5th game as a Bear! @idjmoore#CHIvsWAS on Prime Video

Also available on #NFLPlus https://t.co/YCeYJnyJmB pic.twitter.com/llD1Ppb7vb

— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2023

Just how @justnfields planned it. 😅#CHIvsWAS on Prime Video

Also available on #NFLPlus https://t.co/YCeYJnyJmB pic.twitter.com/bmcgkgWsN4

— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2023

The @ChicagoBears locker room couldn’t be happier to celebrate a dub 🔥 #CHIvsWAS pic.twitter.com/aj55Pfbm9c

— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2023

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