We knew the linebackers were a problem entering this game. The implosion of the Washington Commanders' secondary was a much bigger disappointment. They were simply awful. And it very easily could have been worse.
On the game’s first play, Darnell Mooney cleanly beat Kendall Fuller deep and only a poor throw by Justin Fields led to an incompletion. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, D.J. Moore cleanly beat reserve cornerback Danny Johnson for a touchdown - but the signal-caller again missed him.
The Chicago Bears wide receivers - primarily Moore - were running free all night, and Fields didn’t miss them often enough to save the Commanders.
By the way, I love Johnson. His tackle on Fields in the open field shows how tough he is. But within a minute of replacing Emmanuel Forbes, he ended up guarding Moore alone on the perimeter, which is something he simply cannot do. That is very poor coaching.
I’m not all that worried about Fuller, who was awful but has been good until now. And Benjamin St-Juste appears to be the only cornerback playing at a consistently high level, though even was beaten against Chicago.
I am more concerned about the safeties. It looks to me like Kamren Curl, Darrick Forest, and Percy Butler are so cognizant of the fact that Washington’s linebackers cannot make plays against the run that they are constantly cheating forward, which in turn makes them late in helping out on deep throws.
I predicted this before the season, and it is happening with alarming frequency. Against Chicago, the Commanders gave up nine “big plays” - passes of more than 20 yards and runs of more than 10. That is a huge number against a good offense. To surrender that many to a mundane offense like Chicago’s is almost inconceivable.