LANDOVER, Md. – DJ Moore had the most prolific game of his NFL career and powered the Bears to their first win of the season in the process Thursday night at FedEx Field.
The veteran receiver caught eight passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Bears to an impressive 40-20 victory over the Washington Commanders. The 230 yards were a career high and the second most in Bears history, trailing only Alshon Jeffery's 249 yards Dec. 1, 2013, at Minnesota.
Moore had four catches for 126 yards and one TD in the first quarter and added a second touchdown in the second period to help the Bears build a 27-3 halftime lead. He then sealed the win—after the Commanders had narrowed the gap to 30-20—with a 56-yard touchdown reception with 4:09 remaining.
Justin Fields threw four TD passes for the second straight game, completing 15 of 29 passes for 282 yards with no turnovers and a 125.3 passer rating while also rushing for 57 yards on 11 carries.
"DJ Moore's going to be a big story," said coach Matt Eberflus. "You saw his skill and talent level out there today. Just an amazing player, and Justin did a really good job of feeding him today. I thought that was really nice."
The defense did its part, registering a season-high five sacks and two takeaways.
It was the type of performance that no doubt would have pleased Bears Hall of Fame middle linebacker Dick Butkus, who passed away before the game.
The Bears (1-4) dominated on both sides of the ball in the first half. Their offense scored on all five of its possessions—highlighted by three Fields touchdown passes. The defense yielded only 84 yards and didn't allow a first down until the Bears had grabbed a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Commanders outscored the Bears 17-3 to begin the second half, narrowing the gap to 30-20 early in the fourth quarter. But Moore responded with another sensational play to ice the win, leaping high over cornerback Kendall Fuller to snare a Fields pass and racing 56 yards down the left sideline.
"I was right there; I saw it right there on the sideline," Eberflus said. "He's just an amazing athlete to be able to take that ball, I mean, just the way he catches and concentrates. The guy tried to step in front of it, and he just has great concentration. And that's every day he's like that, so he's a true pro. He's our hardest worker, which is really, really cool to say because he's a really good player, and he's a great example to model after."
With the win, the Bears snapped a 14-game losing streak dating back to last year.
"The guys did a nice job of sticking together during our adversity," Eberflus said, "and I told them the reason we could do that is because of the relationships we've built in the building. The guys have always been tight, always been determined, and super excited about that."
The Bears took a 7-0 lead on the game's opening possession as Fields threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Moore in the left corner of the end zone on third-and-14. The 6-play, 75-yard drive was highlighted by Fields' 58-yard completion to Moore on third-and-9 from the Chicago 26.
The defense followed by forcing a three-and-out as Andrew Billings dropped running back Brian Robinson for a one-yard loss on third-and-one from the Commanders' 34.
The Bears increased their lead to 10-0 on Cairo Santos' 22-yard field goal. The kick came after Khalil Herbert's 34-yard run to the Washington 13. Herbert faked out cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr. with a dazzling cutback move on the play.
In the first quarter, the Bears held decisive advantages in total yards (199-12) and first downs (7-0).
The Moore show continued early in the second period as the veteran receiver leaped high over a defender in the left corner of the end zone to haul in an 11-yard TD pass from Fields on third-and-6, giving the Bears a 17-0 lead.
The Commanders cut the deficit to 17-3 on Joey Slye's 51-yard field goal midway through the second quarter. But the Bears got the points right back, countering with Santos' 36-yard field goal that increased their lead to 20-3 late in the first half.
On the next play from scrimmage, Greg Stroman Jr. intercepted a Sam Howell pass over the middle at the Washington 36 with 2:19 left in the second quarter.
That set up Fields' 4-yard TD strike to Cole Kmet, giving the Bears a 27-3 lead with :24 to play in the half.
The Commanders trimmed the margin to 27-11 on the opening possession of the second half as Howell threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Logan Thomas and then ran in the subsequent two-point conversion.
Washington inched closer on Slye's 32-yard field goal, climbing to within 27-14 with 3:17 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bears got those points right back as Santos drilled a 43-yard field goal, making the score 30-14 early in the fourth period. The kick came after Moore turned a short pass into a 32-yard gain to the Washington 31.
Howell's 3-yard TD pass to receiver Curtis Samuel cut the deficit to 30-20 with 10:51 to play in the fourth quarter. But the Bears stopped the two-point conversion to maintain their two-score lead.
The Commanders could have made it a one-score game, but Slye missed a 46-yard field goal attempt wide right with 5:11 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Moore then followed with his third TD reception, enabling the Bears to breathe a sigh of relief after withstanding the Commanders' second half rally.
"The feeling that we all had after the game is just a feeling that you never want to end," Fields said. "Just proud of the way all the guys came out and played tonight. The O-line did their thing versus that dominant D-line. They showed out. Really just everybody did. Running backs did their thing. The receivers, of course, did their thing too. Just proud of everybody."