DJ Moore orchestrated a masterful performance on Thursday night. However, a subtle irritation simmered beneath the surface once the game concluded. The celebrated wide receiver, despite his laid-back demeanor and the stunning numbers he posted—eight receptions, 230 yards, and three touchdowns in the Chicago Bears’ commanding 40-20 victory over the Washington Commanders—found himself perturbed by a particular play in the late stages of the third quarter. It was that pivotal moment when Moore gracefully seized a pass along the right sideline, eluded the rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr., and embarked on a sprint towards the end zone, only for it to be contested due to an alleged step out of bounds.
Moore, with a hint of vexation in his voice, remarked, “No, that genuinely irked me. I was on the verge of scoring. I mean, the referee ought to execute his duties. It is what it is, though. We secured the victory, so I’m not excessively perturbed.”
To clarify, Moore’s anger wasn’t truly genuine. As a product of the nearby University of Maryland, he confessed to feeling “extraordinarily nervous” before the game. Several hours later, he and his teammates exuded a sense of relief more than anything else. Having notched their first win of the season following a brutal 0-4 start.
Nevertheless, this victory might serve as a foundational stone, with Moore potentially becoming the cornerstone of a somewhat shaky foundation. The 26-year-old could very well emerge as the linchpin of the Bears’ significant offseason trade with the Carolina Panthers. Which involved his acquisition along with two first-round and two second-round picks in exchange for top selection in 2023 draft.
When questioned about the importance of obtaining Moore in that transaction, particularly considering the Bears’ last-place ranking in passing offense in 2022, head coach Matt Eberflus provided an explanation that extended beyond receptions and yards gained after the catch. Eberflus stated, “It’s due to his reputation. He is an industrious individual and an exceptional teammate. He inspires and assists his colleagues while demonstrating a strong work ethic.”
Evidently, Chicago’s offensive prowess is experiencing an upswing. Following a sluggish start, the team has amassed 68 points and a staggering 922 yards over the last two weeks, with Moore and third-year quarterback Justin Fields (each with four touchdown passes in these games) spearheading the offensive onslaught. Moore’s 230-yard performance on Thursday stands as the most yardage accumulated by any receiver league-wide this season, as well as the highest against Washington since 1966. His 20-yard touchdown reception in the opening quarter set the tone, preceding Moore’s repeated forays through and around the Commanders’ secondary. His 56-yard catch-and-run for his third touchdown, with just over four minutes remaining, extinguished any hopes of a Washington resurgence.
Considering Fields’ apparent emergence from his early-season struggles and the potential for the Panthers’ 2024 first-round pick to be a top-five selection, it’s challenging to harbor significant resentment in light of the long-term possibilities. Even Moore, who jovially answered a call from his fiancée during the postgame press conference, had to acknowledge this fact. He stated, “It was simply enjoyable, you know. Football is a source of enjoyment—an opportunity to engage in a child’s game at the end of the day. Tonight was a convergence of stars, and I couldn’t be happier.”