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QUARTERBACKS: B+

Mitch Trubisky said it best after Monday night’s game: “I don’t know if I’d call it a breakthrough yet.”

What Trubisky did against Washington was certainly a step in the right direction, though. He completed 25 of 31 passes for three touchdowns with one interception and a passer rating of 116.5; more notably, he completed nine of 10 throws on third down for 133 yards. Seven of his 11 drop-backs resulted in a first down; another was that beautiful 36-yard touchdown strike to Taylor Gabriel. 

Trubisky looked comfortable in the pocket and felt like he saw the field well, a credit not only to him but his offensive line (more on them in a bit). And he put up these numbers without the Bears truly committing to the run until a four-minute drive in the fourth quarter.

There were some misses, though. The interception he threw when targeting Allen Robinson in the end zone in the third quarter was bad, the result of him determining before the snap he’d target Robinson’s back shoulder instead of going over the top (Robinson beat corner Josh Norman over the top, as it turned out, but Norman was in position for an easy interception on that back-shoulder throw). 

 

Trubisky also couldn’t connect with Anthony Miller down the sideline on a free play in the first half (Washington was offside on it). But for the first time this season, Trubisky consistently made quality throws. It came against a bad defense, yes, and he’ll have to look even better against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday to emerge with a win in that game. 

But for a second, consider the alternative: What if Trubisky didn’t look good against a bad defense? He at least hit the baseline of what he needed to do Monday, if not exceeded it. 

RUNNING BACKS: B+

The Bears seemed to view Washington’s shaky back end as more vulnerable than a front loaded with first-rounders (Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne) and shied away from running the ball early in the game. David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen did some good things in the passing games, though Cohen finished with four carries for minus-two yards (it looked like one of his ineffective runs was due to Trubisky making the wrong decision on a zone read, though). 

But this grade gets a massive boost from what David Montgomery did in the Bears’ four-minute offense in the fourth quarter. Here’s the sequence of plays that effectively sealed the Bears’ win: 

Montgomery eight-yard run
Montgomery four-yard run, first down
Montgomery 25-yard run, first down
Montgomery three-yard run
Mike Davis two-yard run
Trubisky eight-yard pass to Javon Wims, first down
Montgomery four-yard run
Montgomery one-yard run
Montgomery three-yard run
Field goal good

That’s 48 yards on seven carries for the Bears’ rookie, which helped chew up a little over five minutes off the clock late in the fourth quarter. With Washington knowing the Bears would run, Montgomery took charge, and finished with 67 yards on 13 carries. Fantasy football owners may be in hysterics about his lack of usage early in the game, but what he did in the fourth quarter was exactly what the Bears needed to make sure they would win Monday night. 

One other note here: Davis played just one of the Bears’ 66 offensive snaps.

WIDE RECEIVERS: B+

Gabriel had two touchdowns in all of 2018; he had three in the first half Monday, including an outstanding snag of Trubisky’s 36-yard heave down the sideline. Four of Robinson’s seven catches went for first downs; another gained nine on first and 10. 

Gabriel did exit the game with a concussion later on. Miller had his best play of the season, taking a short drag route 15 yards on third and 2 to set up Trubisky’s first passing touchdown of the season.

 

Monday also felt like a good use of Cordarrelle Patterson: He played only nine snaps, but carried the ball four times and was targeted once, averaging four yards per play but looking a little more dangerous than that.  

TIGHT ENDS: B-

Trey Burton played 38 snaps as the Bears continued to increase his workload, and caught all four of his targets for 20 yards while doing some good things as a run blocker. Adam Shaheen’s slow start to the season continued, as the 2017 second-round pick was targeted just once and only played 22 snaps — while waiver wire claim JP Holtz lined up 13 times. The Bears used Holtz both as a fullback and an in-line tight end and he held his own on the first offensive snaps of his NFL career. 

OFFENSIVE LINE: B

Bobby Massie’s last-minute absence threw Cornelius Lucas in at right tackle, and perhaps the best compliment to him is that his presence wasn’t noticeable as the game went on. The interior of the Bears’ offensive line line did have some issues, especially early, as the team wasn’t able to establish much success on the ground against a good run-stopping Washington front. Kyle Long, James Daniels and Cody Whitehair were all whistled for penalties. 

Still, this looked and felt like a good game for the O-line given how little pressure Trubisky was under, especially after the first quarter. 

DEFENSIVE LINE: A

This unit didn’t miss a beat without reliable run stuffer Bilal Nichols and, later in the game, Akiem Hicks. Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson combined for 68 yards on 19 carries, good for a mediocre average of 3.6 yards per attempt. Reserve Nick Williams had a sack on the game’s final play — his second in as many weeks after not having a single sack since being drafted in 2013 — while practice squad/active roster yo-yo Abdullah Anderson held his own. 

Eddie Goldman might as well win the Bears’ “Sweep the Sheds” award every week, seeing as it’s given to a player who does the little things that don’t show up in highlights or the box score to win a game. He did those things again on Monday night, bossing the interior of Washington’s offensive line and allowing the guys around him to make plays. 

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: A+

Khalil Mack played this game with what felt like an invincibility cheat code, dropping Keenum twice and forcing two fumbles while constantly applying pressure to disrupt Washington’s pocket (he would've had a third forced fumble had it not been negated by a Prince Amukamara hands to the face flag). These are the kind of performances that remind the Bears why giving up two first-round picks to trade for him a year ago was well worth the price. 

 

INSIDE LINEBACKERS: A+

Danny Trevathan played arguably his best game in a Bears uniform, recording a stack on an awesome takeout move of right guard Brandon Scherff while pressuring Keenum another time. His forced fumble in the fourth quarter on a bizarre attempt by the Washington quarterback to leap over the pile on fourth and one was a critical play that went a long way toward sealing the Bears’ win. He also broke up a pass and notched a TFL. 

Roquan Smith didn’t fill up the boxes core the way Trevathan did but he still looked his usual fast, physical self. Both he and Trevathan deserve credit for stuffing Peterson and Thompson throughout the night. 

CORNERBACKS: B+

Kyle Fuller picked off his second pass in as many weeks, and now has the second-most interceptions in the NFL since he debuted in 2014 with 17 (an incredible feat given Fuller didn’t have an interception in 2015, then missed the entire 2016 season with a knee injury, then didn’t have his first interception of 2017 until December). 

Prince Amukamara was victimized by the league’s focus on calling penalties any time a player touches the front of an opponent’s helmet. One of those hands to the face penalties negated a Mack forced fumble and recovery by Trevathan, and while it looked ticky-tacky, it is a point of emphasis for officials in 2019 to call it. 

Still, this group backed off a little too much in the second half. Whether it was due to a scheme shift by Chuck Pagano and/or some sub-optimal soft coverage, it allowed Keenum to complete 21 of 29 throws for 240 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, including a slick scoring toss to Terry McLaurin on which the rookie receiver narrowly managed to beat Buster Skrine in the end zone. 

SAFETIES: A

The Ha Ha Clinton-Dix revenge game! Or something like that. Facing one of his former teams for the second time in three games, Clinton-Dix picked off Keenum twice and took the first to the house for his first career pick six. He excelled playing as a deep centerfielder in a lot of single-high looks, and led the Bears with nine tackles. Eddie Jackson played well, too, and recovered the game-sealing fumble forced by Trevathan midway through the fourth quarter. 

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

Credit Eddy Pineiro for gritting though the pinched nerve in his kicking leg and making all his PATs, as well as one of two field goals. He responded well after missing a 44-yarder wide right in the third quarter by connecting from 38 yards just after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. The injury did seem to have an affect on how his kicks looked, and the Bears will have to hope it improves in the next five days before Sunday’s date with the Minnesota Vikings. 

 

The rest of special teams was a mixed bag. Rookie Duke Shelley was whistled for holding on Tarik Cohen’s first punt return, and Cordarelle Patterson did attempt his first two kick returns of the season with limited effectiveness. 

Pat O’Donnell handled kickoff duties in place of the banged-up Pineiro and blasted three touchbacks, but the Bears allowed returns of 45, 26 and 31 yards when Washington went for a return. It’s fair to wonder if these coverage units would be better with Sherrick McManis, the Bears’ longtime special teams ace who’s been inactive for the last two games. 

COACHING: B+

Nagy found a good playcalling groove in the first half and pushed plenty of the right buttons, especially in how strategically allowed the Bears’ offense to go up tempo at times. His gameplan was well designed to pick apart a Washington defense lacking good players and a good scheme, and Bears receivers were running open far more than they were in the season’s first two weeks. Trubisky’s first touchdown pass of the year, in particular, was the result of an excellent play — the Bears faked a handoff to Cohen and slid protection to Trubisky’s right, allowing him to roll to his left while Gabriel went against the flow to run wide open in the end zone. 

The Bears’ offense generated two should’ve-been scoring possessions to begin the second half, though Pineiro missed a 44-yard field goal after Clinton-Dix’s interception on the first. On the second, Trubisky drove the Bears to Washington’s six-yard line but threw that bad interception when targeting Robinson in the end zone. Washington capitalized with a 97-yard scoring drive to cut the Bears’ lead to two possessions. 

The real ding to this grade comes in how frequently the Bears were penalized, though. Flags were thrown against the Bears 13 times (including seven in the first quarter), with nine enforced. That kind of sloppiness is the sort of thing that could cost the Bears a win against a better opponent — like the Minnesota Vikings.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears