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LANDOVER, Md. — It took just three plays for a national audience to see the Justin Fields and DJ Moore chemistry to come to life.
Fields, who missed his first throw of the game on a deep shot to Darnell Mooney, dropped a dime to Moore down the left sideline for a 58-yard gain. `
Three plays later, Fields went to Moore again — this time for a 20-yard touchdown pass on third-and-14 to give the Bears an opening drive touchdown to start the game.
In the Bears’ 40-20 blowout victory, Moore was the only wide receiver to catch a pass with Cole Kmet and Robert Tonyan accounting for the rest.
But the sixth-year veteran finished with eight receptions for 230 yards and three touchdowns.
Moore’s Thursday night performance was exactly why general manager Ryan Poles had to have him when he traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Panthers.
“It makes my job easier,” Fields said after the game. “They left him one-on-one for more times than I thought they would tonight. So, when you always have him one-on-one, he’s going to win 95 percent of the time. Just thankful for him to be honest, he makes my job way easier. He showed up tonight. Eight catches for 230? That’s a crazy stat right there. He definitely did his thing for sure.”
Fields ended the night with 282 passing yards, four touchdowns and he added 57 yards on the ground. The Bears’ quarterback was able to build off of his first 300-yard passing game and four passing touchdowns against the Broncos, and did so because of Moore.
The two were in sync all night, and they even got LeBron James’ attention.
On the Bears’ third offensive possession in the third half, Moore turned a simple six-yard stop route into a 39-yard gain by spinning off the cornerback and running up the right sideline. Five plays later, Fields and Moore connected for their second touchdown of the game.
The 11-yard score was reminiscent of the plays Fields and Moore were connecting on at a consistent clip throughout training camp. Moore ran a double move, got behind the defensive back, elevated and came down with the catch.
After making the catch in the left corner of the end zone, Moore started to high step and raised both his arms as he was greeted by his teammates on the sideline.
“It was just fun,” Moore said. “Football is fun. Out there playing a kids game, you know, at the end of the day I just looked at it that way. Tonight the stars aligned and all glory to God for it so I’m just happy to win.”
Even though Moore made Bears history with his 230 receiving yards and three touchdowns, he should’ve had even more. Fields connected with Moore along with the right sideline on another stop route and again spun off the defender. The 6-foot, 210-pound receiver then worked up the right sideline, avoided an ankle tackle and waited for Mooney to make a block, but the play was blown dead because Moore apparently stepped out of bounds.
Even on the televised replays, it was tough to see when that happened.
“That really pissed me off because I was about to score,” Moore said. “I could’ve had four touchdowns. I mean the ref has to do his job but at the same time, it is what it is. We got the win so I’m not too mad on it.”
Bears coach Matt Eberflus was asked about the play in his postgame press conference, and he said he wouldn’t comment on it and did so with a smile. Fields thought the refs should’ve let the play continue and review it afterwards.
That drive ended in a Cairo Santos field goal to make it a 30-14 game. The Commanders scored a touchdown on their next possession and forced a 3-and-out.
Despite a Washington missed field goal on the next series, the Bears’ 30-20 lead with just over five minutes in the fourth quarter needed some insurance.
Fields and Moore provided that with their 56-yard touchdown connection on third down. The cornerback was a step slow on the stop route and Moore called game.
“Justin just put it in a good spot,” Moore said. “The DB was trying to jump it. He threw it out to where I could catch it and it was off to the races.”
The 20-point victory not only snapped the Bears’ 14-game losing streak but also provided a sense of relief for a team that has been through so much through the first four weeks of the season.
“It just felt good,” Fields said. “Just seeing all the hard work pay off. Especially you know, getting a win after everything that’s happened this year. Everything in the media, everything on the outside it just feels good when you can say that hard work paid off, so again, I’m proud of everybody in the building, I love everybody on my team. Players, coaches, shoot, everybody upstairs. I might not even know them, but I love you all. So, I mean that that feeling was a feeling that you never want it to end and you know, we just got to keep this momentum going and just get ready for Minnesota coming up next week.”
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