Bears return to Monday Night Football to face the Redskins on WGN
LANDOVER, Md. — A little over a year ago, it was on a weeknight that a new era of the Bears was truly born.
In Week 2 of the 2018 season, the Bears knocked off the Seahawks 24-17 at Soldier Field, giving Matt Nagy his first win with the franchise. They’d use that as a springboard to 11 more that season en route to an NFC North title.
Now the Bears return to Monday Night Football this week, hoping to show the team that did so much last season is in position to do so again in 2019, and perhaps top it.
This time Nagy’s team will be on the road as they travel to Landover, Maryland, to face the Washington Redskins, with pregame coverage beginning on WGN at 6:30 p.m. It’s their 14th consecutive year with at least one game on Monday night, with this being the team’s only appearance in 2019 season.
The last time the Bears weren’t on Monday Night Football was 2005. The franchise is 31-38 all-time in games played on that night, with a 14-24 record on the road. This will be the first time that the Redskins and Bears will play on Monday Night Football.
So far, the team’s second year under Nagy has featured some good and some bad during a 1-1 start. The offense has sputtered early on, producing just one touchdown in two games, and that didn’t come until the third quarter of their second game.
Lack of rhythm and continued work on play-calling has led to a sluggish start, which has brought plenty of criticism already to Nagy and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
While fans started the season so optimistically, the story of the early part of the season is a familiar one: dominant defense and a questionable quarterback.
“I think it’s going to be like do-or-die for Mitch tonight,” fan Tom Grenier said. “I hate to say it, I want the best for Mitch, I think the whole city’s behind him, but tonight’s the game.”
The highly-touted first round draft pick ranks near the bottom of the entire league in touchdowns, yards per pass attempt, passer rating, passing yards and completion percentage.
“I’ve been a Bears fan since 1967 and I was just looking — we’ve had like 30 quarterbacks and other than a year when Jim McMahon was healthy, how do we miss every time?” fan Ron Soukup said.
Host Laurence Holmes of “670 The Score” covered the Bears beat as a reporter for years. He says he’s not ready to declare Trubisky a “bust,” but knows fans are running out of patience.
“I don’t want to damn him to say that he’s never going to reach his potential, but you were expecting a third year quarterback to maybe be a little bit farther along,” Holmes said.
Kicker Eddy Pineiro has been the offense’s biggest start, making all four of his field goals in two games, including the 53-yard game-winner against the Broncos last Sunday.
On the opposite end is the defense, which has returned to form even with the switch to new coordinator Chuck Pagano. They’ve allowed just 24 points in the first two games while ranking fourth in total defense (292.5 yards per game) while recording seven sacks.
Washington, meanwhile, is struggling early in the 2019 season as injuries have hurt the team early this season. They’re 0-2 after losses to the Eagles and Cowboys, surrendering 31.5 points per game as they come to their match-up with the Bears in hopes of stopping the bleeding early in 2019.
So at least for tonight’s game, most fans are optimistic that the Bears can win even if Trubisky doesn’t play well.
“Washington’s at the bottom of the heap right now, so it should be a pretty easy game… ” fan Jeff Amundson said.
It’s a big night on the big stage for both teams at Fed Ex Field on Monday, with each trying to set the course for their 2019 season with the entire country watching.