Washington Commanders

10 things to know as Commanders host hapless Bears

NBC Universal, Inc.

Sure, the Washington Commanders lost to the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend, but there was plenty to like from the loss, and not just the play of second-year quarterback Sam Howell.

The offensive game plan deployed by Eric Bieniemy seemed a refreshed approach. Short passes, moving pockets and an increased focus on the run game seemed a fairly stark departure from the blowout loss to Buffalo the week before, though it’s worth pointing out that Washington also had no turnovers. It’s much easier to run an efficient and fast offense without five turnovers.

Defensively, it was a different story.

Strategically, it made sense for head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to sell out to slow the Eagles' run game. That worked. After two previous games where Eagles running back D’Andre Swift ran for more than 300 yards combined, Washington limited the Eagles runner to just 56 yards on the ground.

The Commanders plan was for Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts to beat them from the pocket, but unfortunately, he did. The one adjustment that would have helped would have involved helping rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes or even moving him off Eagles star WR A.J. Brown. He dominated the contest, scoring twice and going for 175 yards on nine catches. Brown torched Forbes, and all Commander fans can hope is that the rookie will learn from the experience.

There is good news coming for Washington, now, and that is playing the struggling Chicago Bears. Here’s 10 things to know for the matchup:

1) Chicago’s defense has two sacks on the season. Two. In four games. Howell has been facing a ton of pressure so far this year, but that should dissipate against the Bears.

2) Speaking of pressures, in Washington’s two wins this season, defensive end Montez Sweat has three sacks. In Washington’s two losses this season, Sweat has zero. It would be a good night for a Sweat sack.

3) Washington has a 23-21-1 lifetime record against Chicago and is 2-0 all-time against the Bears on Thursday night.

4) The Commanders will be wearing their “battle black” uniforms, which look great, but unfortunately, the results in the all-blacks have not been. The Commanders are 1-2 wearing that combo.

5) The Bears and the Carolina Panthers are the only winless teams in the NFL.

6) Chicago ranks as the second worst (31st) defense in the NFL in points allowed and has the 21st best scoring offense. Washington isn’t much better. The Commanders have the 29th scoring defense and 17th best scoring offense.

7) A noted runner in college, Howell rushed just five times combined in the Commanders first three games of the season. Last week against the Eagles in objectively Howell’s best ever NFL game, Howell ran six times. Expect to see the young QB use his legs more.

8) Chicago’s best offensive threat is wide receiver D.J. Moore, a University of Maryland product. Moore has 24 targets through four games. Washington has three wide receivers at 20 or more targets: Terry McLaurin (26), Jahan Dotson (25) and Curtis Samuel (20). Dotson and Samuel landed on the injury report this week, but both will play against Chicago.

9) Howell has been sacked an NFL high 24 times, and he’s lost 156 yards due to sacks. Bears QB Justin Fields has been sacked 17 times for 116 yards. The 17 sacks ranks as third-most in the NFL.

10) Commanders running back Brian Robinson ranks 13th in the NFL in carries (62) and rush yards (261). He ranks only behind Christian McCaffrey (23) in rushes that result in first downs (20).

Contact Us