In an error-filled game, the last gasp for the Chicago Bears to wipe away their mistakes was lost in the lights, and then it was lights out.
The Washington Commanders beat the Bears 12-7 Thursday night in a low-scoring matchup Candace Buckner of The Washington Post summed up as a “thoroughly unwatchable game.”
“If you didn’t tune in, good for you,” she wrote.
Darnell Mooney was wishing he could tune it out as he sat by his locker after the game, WMAQ-TV reported.
The Bears had a first-and-goal from the Commanders’ 5-yard line. First, quarterback Justin Fields ran for a yard. Two incompletions followed. Fourth down. Last chance.
“At that period of time, I’m literally just telling myself, ‘Just please, give me this ball. Give me this ball,'” Mooney said afterward. “I just got to close the game for us. If I want to be that player, I want to be that guy for our team, I got to make that play.”
He got his wish. Mooney was open in the end zone. Fields found him. Then Mooney said he lost the ball in the lights. He bobbled it until when he finally gained control, he headed out of bounds just short of the end zone.
As the futility of the play became apparent, “the oxygen had been sucked out of Soldier Field,” Josh Schrock wrote for WMAQ.
“If I just catch the damn ball the first time, we win the game,” Mooney said.
Mooney was not the only Bears player responsible for ruining Chicago’s hopes for the game.
Kick returner Velus Jones Jr. ended up muffing a fourth-quarter punt reception at his own 9-yard-line, letting the ball hit him in the face mask, according to the Chicago Tribune. Washington recovered and scored its only touchdown of the game.
“We know that was a devastating blow,” Jones said. “I’m a man. I own up to my mistakes, and it was devastating blow.”’
“That’s one I should have let go,” Jones said. “It came, and I was trying to make a play. Earlier in the game, the last one I caught I fair caught and I had a lot of space left. So rookie mistake. Just because it was a look then doesn’t mean it’s going to be a look the next time. That’s one I should have definitely let go.”
“The number one job of a kick returner or punt returner is to catch the ball, so we are going to have to look at that,” Bears coach Matt Eberflus said.
Mistakes marred the game throughout. During the first half, the Bears twice made it within 5 yards of the end zone and came away empty both times.
Washington had a chance to all but put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, but Commanders kicker Joey Slye missed his 48-yard field goal attempt, setting the stage for the final heartache of the night for the Bears.
Chicago’s only touchdown of the night was aided and abetted by a Commanders miscue. Fields found Kendall Fuller in the end zone one play after Washington was penalized for having too many men on the field.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.