Have we finally seen the real 2019 Chicago Bears? It certainly looked like we did after their convincing 31-15 win over Washington on "Monday Night Football." After a lackluster opener against Green Bay, followed by needing a last-second field goal to defeat Denver last week, there were questions as to whether or not the Bears (2-1) could capitalize on last year's success. For now, the Bears have quieted those doubters.
They put on a strong showing against the Redskins as they were effective on both sides of the ball, multiple players contributed to the winning effort, and the Bears broke a seven-game losing streak in this series. Here are five thoughts on the Bears' big Monday night victory.
1. Mitchell Trubisky's efficiency
The No. 2 overall draft pick from 2017 had his best game of the year against the Redskins on Monday night. He completed 25 of his 31 pass attempts (80.7 completion percentage) for 231 yards and three touchdowns. Trubisky did throw an ugly interception near the goal line and take three sacks, but 12 of his 25 completions went for double-digit yardage. If Trubisky can consistently play like this then the Bears will be in good shape.
2. David Montgomery takes charge
The rookie out of Iowa State made a strong argument for an increased role moving forward. Montgomery had 67 yards on 13 carries (5.2 ypc) with a long of 25 yards. He was the Bears' leading rusher and contributed 14 receiving yards as well. This is what the Bears were expecting when they traded up in the third round to take Montgomery in April's draft. Montgomery and the rest of Chicago's running game has a tough test ahead with Minnesota on tap Sunday.
3. Taylor Gabriel appears
After a quiet start to the season (3 catches for 7 yards in the first two games), Gabriel showed up in a big way on Monday night. He finished with six catches for 75 yards but was on the other end of all three of Trubiksy's touchdown passes, all of them coming in the second quarter. Gabriel left the game due to an expected concussion so he will need to be cleared to play on Sunday. But he's just an example of how explosive this offense can be when everything is clicking.
4. Eddy Pineiro works through his injury
Piniero was listed as questionable entering the game. He injured his knee in the weight room last week and suffered what was later reported to be a pinched nerve. But he was able to play through it and went 1-for-2 on field goals (made from 38 yards out, missed from 44), and was a perfect 4-for-4 on PATs. He was noticeably limping anytime he was on the field and was unable to handle kickoffs but he got the job done. The team will be very careful with him leading into Sunday's game against the Vikings but this is one injury to keep an eye on.
5. The defense throws down the hammer
The defense had been somewhat slow out of the gate to start the season. But the defensive unit that Bears fans had come to know and love found its way back into the limelight on Monday night. Linebacker Kahlil Mack harassed Washington quarterback Case Keenum all night, finishing with two of the team's four sacks and two forced fumbles. The Bears also intercepted Keenum three times, two of those by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the first of which he returned 37 yards for a touchdown on the Redskins' opening drive.
Besides the five turnovers, the defense was credited with 6.5 tackles for a loss, nine quarterback hits, and held Washington to just 69 rushing yards on 21 carries (3.3 ypc). Keenum finished the game with 332 passing yards but some of that was due to game script as the Bears led 28-3 at the half. Otherwise, Chuck Pagano's unit came to play on Monday night and will need another big-time performance this Sunday against Minnesota and the league's leading rusher, Dalvin Cook.
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.
(Top photo courtesy of www.chicagobears.com)