LANDOVER, MD – The Bears we all know and love reemerged with a vengeance Monday night in Washington, generating five takeaways and four touchdowns in a 31-15 win over the Redskins at FedEx Field.
The defense set the tone on Washington's first possession as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix returned the first of his two interceptions against his former team 37 yards for his first NFL touchdown, giving the Bears a 7-0 lead.
"Being a part of this team, we emphasize scoring [on defense]," Clinton-Dix said. "We don't care about [just] catching the ball; we care about scoring. That's the mindset on defense."
A Bears offense that had been stuck in neutral so far this season then shifted into overdrive, producing touchdowns on three straight second-quarter drives to increase the margin to 28-0. The three scores all came on passes from Mitchell Trubisky to Taylor Gabriel of 3, 1 and 36 yards.
"It was a great game by the defense in regards to getting turnovers and flipping the field, which was really good," said coach Matt Nagy. "And then the offense there in the second quarter used the momentum from that."
In his best outing of the season, Trubisky completed 25 of 31 passes for 231 yards with three touchdowns, one interception and a 116.5 passer rating.
"I want to give credit to Mitch," Nagy said. "He had a really good week of practice. He was very mentally prepared. He's mentally strong. He understands that throughout this process there's a lot of weight on his shoulders to do well, and I like where he's at."
An efficient Trubisky helped the Bears (2-1) compile 21 first downs and convert 8-of-13 third-down opportunities (62 percent).
"It felt like his completion percentage was pretty high today," Nagy said. "I didn't feel like there were a lot of incompletions. When you get completions, it moves the sticks and you're able to get first downs. I felt good about that. I know we have a lot of room to grow. [But] it was nice to have that big second quarter,"
Trubisky's first two TD tosses came in a 1:18 span and were sandwiched between another spectacular strip/sack by Khalil Mack. The All-Pro outside linebacker swatted the ball out of quarterback Case Keenum's right hand and Akiem Hicks recovered the fumble at the Redskins' 11.
Mack registered two sacks and two forced fumbles in the game.
"That guy alone really changes the entire defense; the way we practice, the way we hunt, the way we attack the ball," Clinton-Dix said. "It all comes from what he does in practice. We all just follow off of that and we try to create turnovers."
After Dustin Hopkins' 35-yard field goal on the final play of the first half made it 28-3, Keenum threw touchdown passes of 15 yards to Terry McLaurin and 2 yards to Paul Richardson Jr. on back-to-back possessions, cutting the deficit to 28-15 with 13:11 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Keenum's second TD pass capped a 97-yard drive and came after Trubisky's underthrown pass intended for Allen Robinson II on second-and-three from the Redskins' 6 was intercepted by Josh Norman.
After the Bears went three-and-out, the Redskins (0-3) marched to the Chicago 16—and suddenly what seemed to be a rout-in-the-making was turning into a nail-biter. But on fourth-and-one, Danny Trevathan saved the day.
As Keenum extended the ball on a quarterback sneak, Trevathan alertly batted it out of the quarterback's hands. Eddie Jackson recovered the fumble, enabling the Bears—and their fans—to breathe a huge sigh of relief.
"I knew the situation," Trevathan said. "Coach [Mark] DeLeone does a good job of coaching us to go get the ball and when we get it good things happen. I was just aware of it and trying to make a play for our team."
"We were tested there at the end," Nagy said. "It was a little bit of a swing there when we didn't get the touchdown on offense and they went down and got one. But our guys hung tough."
The offense followed by burning 5:12 off the clock by picking up three first downs—including one on David Montgomery's 25-yard run and another on Trubisky's eight-yard pass to Javon Wims on third-and-five.
Eddy Piñeiro capped the 10-play, 58-yard drive with a 38-yard field goal that increased the Bears' lead to 31-15 with 1:50 left in the game.
"We were a little sloppy there in the red zone," Nagy said of Trubisky's interception. "But at the end then the offense being able to get in four-minute mode and churn up some first downs was good."