The Chicago Bears got their first win of the season to take some of the heat off head coach Matt Eberflus with a 40-20 upset of the Washington Commanders on Thursday night.
Quarterback Justin Fields and wide receiver DJ Moore were the stars of the show as the Bears made amends for blowing a 21-point lead in a disastrous defeat to the Denver Broncos last Sunday.
Chicago's victory snapped a franchise-worst 14-game losing streak that dated back to last season on the same night that the NFL mourned the death of iconic Bears linebacker and Hall of Famer Dick Butkus at the age of 80.
Fields and Moore are the undoubted current stars of the franchise and they both reached new peaks of performance on Thursday night.
The third-year QB threw four touchdowns and no interceptions, his career-best TD to INT differential, while Moore enjoyed his first 200-yard plus night in the NFL to go with his first hat-trick of TDs.
Fields took advantage of the protection his line gave him early on by launching a 58-yard pass to Moore, their longest connection on the night, on the third play from scrimmage and capped the six-play scoring drive with another 20-yard pass to the receiver.
Moore, who joined Chicago as part of a pre-draft trade with the Carolina Panthers, then had Commanders cornerback Kendall Fuller biting on an inside move before he broke to the outside to make a Randy Moss-like touchdown catch on his back shoulder that put the Bears three scores up.
Fuller's night to forget was completed when the wideout burned him for another 56-yard score in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of soft coverage and the defensive back's mistimed attempt to jump the route.
Moore finished the night with the second-most receiving yards in a game (230) by a Bears receiver.
Fields, who had to reach up for a series of high snaps throughout the game, is flourishing in OC Luke Getsy's system which gives him plenty of read-option passes.
The former Ohio State star, who is +2500 to finish the season with the most TD passes in the league, has now thrown for eight scores in the past five days to join +350 Kirk Cousins at the top of the passing TD list with 11 for the year, although he's played one more game than everyone else due to playing on Thursday this week.
After blowing a 28-7 lead against the Broncos on Sunday, it was vital that the Bears held on for the win after being 27-3 up at half-time.
Washington must have felt pessimistic at the interval, but clearly head coach Ron Rivera motivated them somehow as they pulled within 10 points by the fourth quarter.
Sam Howell went five-of-six passing on Washington's opening drive of the half with a pass interference call on the incompletion giving the Commanders first and goal from the Bears' two-yard line.
He found Logan Thomas from there and made it into the end zone for the two-point conversion himself to give the home fans some hope.
Washington's defense forced the Bears to punt on three of their next four possessions as Chicago could only tack on a 43-yard field goal to make it 30-11.
Howell then led a 75-yard drive to bring the home team within two scores, but a missed field goal from 46 yards out killed their momentum on the next possession.
The win was absolutely huge for under-fire Bears coach Eberflus, who had been feeling the weight of the team's 14-game losing streak that dated back to last season.
Eberflus, who believed he had the backing of ownership, president Kevin Warren and GM Ryan Poles going into the game, has been calling the defensive plays since Alan Williams resigned in Week 3.
It wasn't a perfect night for the unit by any means, but they got a ton of pressure on Howell from their defensive front, which helped mitigate the mistakes of an injury-ravaged secondary.
Backup nickel corner Greg Stroman Jr was one of the lesser-known players that stepped up for the Bears, who are +1225 to make the playoffs, on Thursday.
Playing because of an injury to Kyler Gordon, he had his most impactful night in the NFL with an interception and a key sack.
Stroman, who has twice previously been released by the Bears, stepped in front of a pass intended for Curtis Samuel to record his third career pick in the first half.
Then, just as Washington were rallying, he got his first sack as a pro on a blitz coming from the left side of the line which Howell never saw.