LAKE FOREST – Since they basically did all they could to help the Bears’ struggling offense in the first two weeks of the season, no one was complaining about something missing with the unit.
But it was fair to wonder when the Bears’ defense might finally reach the endzone in the 2019 season while creating the turnovers that became their calling card during the 2018 season. Through two weeks under new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, the team had just one interception
“Keep plugging away. All you can do is trying to keep getting them,” said linebacker Khalil Mack before the game with the Redskins. “As you can see, once you get them, they start coming in bunches. That’s what we’re looking forward to doing this week.”
Indeed, they did, and as Khalil said, they came in bunches on Monday Night Football.
Over the course of 60 minutes, the Bears forced five turnovers on what looked like an overwhelmed Redskins’ offense early in the contest in a 31-15 win in which the unit showed off a number of facets of the game.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had the first “Pick Six” of the season as he returned a Case Keenum pass 37-yards for the touchdown, giving the defense a reason to celebrate in the endzone for the first time. He’d get another interception in the second half with Kyle Fuller adding one of his own on the night as well.
“We knew they’d come in bunches,” said Clinton-Dix after his outstanding game against his former team. “We knew we just had to continue fighting and when the opportunities came, we had to capitalize on them.”
But on a few other plays, the Bears had to create them on their own, and Mack had a big part in doing that. The linebacker forced a fumble in the first quarter but the Redskins got it back, but Keenum wasn’t so lucky in the second quarter when it happened again. Mack went straight to the football to knock it out, and Akiem Hicks’ recover set up a short field for the offense to score their third touchdown of the night.
Those two forced fumbles gives him three for this season and nine for his Bears’ career.
“I can’t really say nothing was different. We made the big plays, and we capitalized,” said Mack on the effort on Monday.
Danny Trevathan finished things off by knocking the ball out of Keenum’s hands while trying to dive for a first down on a 4th-and-Inches late in the fourth quarter. The five turnovers added to their one from the Broncos game shot the Bears up the charts in the NFL as they now sit tied for sixth in that category with the Patriots and Vikings.
“We’ve been playing good, the turnovers didn’t come as early as we thought. We executed our calls, coach (Chuck Pagano) did a great job of putting us in position,” said Trevathan. “The back end did a great job, the front line was out there stunting, going after them, going berserk, you saw what was going on out there.”
Everyone certainly saw the turnovers, which indeed came in bunches, finally, for this team.