Monday's NFL: Bears get offense on track, maul Washington
Landover, Md. — After the Chicago Bears’ offense was slow to get going this season, Mitchell Trubisky was excited to speed things up.
Trubisky and the Bears used a no-huddle, hurry-up tempo to snap out of their offensive funk and score 28 first-half points on the way to beating Washington, 31-15, Monday night. After no passing touchdowns the first two games of the year, Trubisky connected with Taylor Gabriel on three of them in the second quarter alone.
The 2017 second overall pick looked at ease with a fast-paced approach and picked apart Washington’s porous defense on 25 of 31 passing for 231 yards. It was the offensive explosion Trubisky predicted would happen this week.
“It just felt like the tempo helped us out a little bit,” Trubisky said. “If everyone just continues to stick together and execute our plays and believe and just go out there and make plays, it’ll be a fun offense.”
Chicago (2-1) had just a 1-yard touchdown run to show for its first two games, and Trubisky entered the night with a completion percentage of 58.3 and ranked near the bottom of the league in yards per attempt. Facing Washington (0-3) brought out some of the best in Trubisky.
“Hat’s off to him,” said Washington linebacker Cole Holcomb, who was roommates with Trubisky at North Carolina. “I always knew he was a good quarterback. He struggled a little bit, but he came out and he played a good game.”
Trubisky had 173 yards in the first half alone before throwing an interception at the goal line in the third quarter.
With scores of 1, 3 and 36 yards, Gabriel joined Mike Ditka in 1963 as the only Bears receivers with three TD catches in the first half of a game. Gabriel made six catches for 75 yards before leaving in the second half with a concussion.
The Bears took advantage of five turnovers by Washington quarterback Case Keenum: two interceptions by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, including a pick six, another by Kyle Fuller and fumbles forced by Khalil Mack and Danny Trevathan.
“That’s all me,” said Keenum, who was 30 of 43 for 331 yards and two touchdowns that didn’t compensate for the turnovers. “Turn it over that many times as a quarterback, I let my team down. It’s all on me. I take complete responsibility. I have to take care of the ball better.”
With the offense up to the defense’s speed in the first half, Chicago put up 28 points in two quarters after scoring a total of 19 the past two weeks, 12 of which came on field goals from Eddy Piñeiro.
Mack had two of the Bears’ four sacks to continue a dominant start by the defense that didn’t give up a Washington TD until midway through the third quarter. Keenum’s two TD passes came long after fans chanted for rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins and booed Washington off the field at halftime.
Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor has invited a man who rescued children from a burning house to be his guest at a game after the former firefighter criticized Agholor’s catching skills during a television interview.
Hakim Laws said he was walking in the area of a house fire when he jumped into action. According to Laws, he waited outside while another man entered the building to help.
“My man just started throwing babies out. … And we were catching them, unlike Agholor,” Laws said.
Agholor dropped what would have been a go-ahead 60-yard touchdown pass in Philadelphia’s loss at Atlanta in Week 2. He had a few more drops in Sunday's loss to Detroit.
The video of Laws’ interview was the talk of Philly on Monday and had been viewed several million times.
“Thank you for being a hero in the community,” Agholor wrote on Twitter. “Would like to invite you and your family to the next home game.”
Kyle Allen will make his second straight start Sunday when the Panthers visit the Texans.
Carolina coach Ron Rivera wasted no time ruling out quarterback Cam Newton for a second straight game due to a lingering mid-foot sprain.
Rivera said there is “no timetable” for Newton’s return and that the 2015 league MVP will continue to receive treatment.
... NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for 2018 Saquon Barkley has a high sprain to his ankle and there is no immediate timetable for his return to the Giants.
... Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had surgery to repair his right elbow at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles. Roethlisberger will begin rehabilitation when he returns to Pittsburgh and plans to return to the field in 2020.
... The Patriots placed fullback James Develin on injured reserve because of a neck injury, making him the third offensive player New England has placed on the list this season.
... Colts coach Frank Reich said safety Malik Hooker suffered a knee injury during Sunday’s win over Atlanta and is expected to miss four to six weeks because of a torn meniscus.
... Keanu Neal will miss the remainder of the season because of a torn left Achilles tendon, taking the strong safety away from the Falcons’ defense for the second straight season.
... The Cardinals released veteran receiver Michael Crabtree after he played just two games. The 11-year veteran didn’t play in the first game of the season against the Lions.