Darnell Mooney, Bears Left Searching For Answers After Commanders Loss

CHICAGO – Darnell Mooney asked for the chance he got late on Thursday night. The Bears’ star wide receiver wanted the ball when the game was on the line against the Washington Commanders at Soldier Field. Whether you believe in football gods, the universe, or a god of your choice, he wanted the ball.

With 42 seconds left and a fourth-and-goal situation at the 4-yard line, Mooney got what he wanted. He beat his man off the line, and quarterback Justin Fields, who had been hit all night by the Commanders’ front four, put it on the money. Mooney jumped over the cornerback Benjamin St-Juste and landed at the pylon with the ball. But Mooney wasn’t able to make the game-winning catch that would have made him a hero. At first, the Bears’ receiver dropped the ball. By the time he got back under control, he was out of bounds at the inch line and outside the end zone.

Darnell Mooney, Bears Left Searching
Darnell Mooney, Bears Left Searching

Soldier Field had been sucked dry of air.

Final score: Commanders 12, Bears 7.

Mooney said after the game that he had lost the ball in the lights. Once the ball was gone, he just tried to grab the lights that he could see. Anyone in the Bears’ locker room on Thursday night could see how much that close call hurt Mooney.

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“At that time, I just kept telling myself, “Please, just give me this ball. Give me this ball,'” Mooney said after the loss. “I have to end the game for us now. I have to make that play if I want to be that player if I want to be that guy for our team.”

To be fair, Mooney wasn’t the only one to blame for the terrible loss to a bad Washington team. Thursday night, the Bears had a lot of chances to win. They marched into the red zone three times but got no points for it. On those three trips into the red zone, the Bears ran 11 plays, gained 7 yards, didn’t score any points, and turned the ball over once.

Darnell Mooney, Bears Left Searching

But all of the Bears’ problems in the red zone could have been fixed if Mooney, who is in charge of the Bears’ passing game, had done what he knows he can do. “We’ll win the game if I just catch the ball the first time,” Mooney said.

Mooney later said of Fields, “I’ve got to be there for my guy, man.” “He called me on the phone. I just have to support him.”

After the loss, Mooney sat in his uniform for a while at his locker. He showed Dante Pettis, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, and Al-Quadin Muhammad the catch that didn’t happen. Every time Mooney pretended to squeeze the blinding lights, he looked at his hands as if he thought he’d get a clean catch this time.

Mooney finally took off his uniform, threw a towel over his shoulder, and started walking toward the shower.

But he went to Fields’ locker first. He told Fields what had happened and how the lights had ruined the hero moment they had worked all offseason for. Mooney sat next to Fields at Trevor Siemian’s empty locker. He still had a shocked look in his eyes. Fields pulled out his phone to show Mooney something. It was probably a video of the moment when the Bears were just inches away from a much-needed win. After a few minutes, Luke Getsy, who was in charge of the offense, came over to talk to the two players who were the most important to his plan.

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Mooney told Getsy what he had said to Fields, Pettis, and anyone else who was around. He almost asked the universe to turn back time so he could fight Soldier Field’s glow again. Getsy sat down next to Fields, spoke quietly to the young quarterback, gave him a hug, and then left. Thursday night at Soldier Field, Fields laid it all out on the grass. He had some flaws. Not at all.

In the first half, he missed a touchdown pass to Ryan Griffin who was wide-open. In the red zone, he threw a pass that hit a defensive lineman’s helmet and was picked off.

But all night long, the 23-year-old was hit hard by the Commanders’ defensive front. After getting hit at midfield, the second-year quarterback hurt his left shoulder again at the end of the first half. He ignored the pain and threw a 40-yard pass to Dante Pettis, giving the Bears a 7-3 lead in the third quarter. On the last drive of the game, Fields rolled to the left, found an opening, and ran 39 yards to get the Bears to the Washington 5-yard line and give Mooney a chance to win.

On the last play, Twitter video experts saw David Montgomery open in the flat. Fields said that was his fifth and last read, and there was no reason to throw the ball to anyone else but Mooney. He is the best receiver for the Bears. He was open.

Fields always knew where he was going when he had the ball.

After the loss, Fields said of Mooney, “If my boy’s open, I have full trust in him.”

After Mooney and Fields looked for answers and maybe forgiveness together, Mooney finally turned toward the showers. As soon as Mooney was out of sight, a loud swear word came from where he had been. When the locker room closed, Mooney hadn’t come out yet. He is still looking for the chance he missed in the lights.

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