Late in the third quarter, DJ Moore had already put together one of the best games of his career. For a brief moment it looked like it was going to be an all-timer. On a 2nd-and-10 play from the Bears’ 37-yard line Moore beat rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes on a curl route. Forbes tried to do too much to recover on the play and ended up overpursuing, which allowed Moore to start racking up serious yards after the catch. Moore broke a Darrick Forrest tackle, then tiptoed down the sideline for more. He picked up a block from Darnell Mooney and started to position himself to score. But just as Moore began angling for the endzone the whistle blew. A referee determined Moore had stepped out of bounds.
What could’ve been a touchdown ended up “merely” as a 32-yard catch and run.
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“That really pissed me off because I was about to score,” Moore said after the game. “I could’ve had four touchdowns. I mean the ref’s gotta do his job, but at the same time it is what it is. We got the win, so I’m not too mad on it.”
Justin Fields said he couldn’t see the play, but elaborated on exactly how the ref in question should’ve done his job better.
“They should’ve just let it play out then review it and overturn it,” Fields said. “They usually do that, I’m surprised they didn’t. I’m gonna go with (Moore) and say he didn’t step out even though I couldn’t see it at all. He didn’t think he stepped out.”
The TV broadcast did not show many replays of Moore running down the sideline, so after the game it remained unclear whether or not he was in bounds or out of bounds.
“Yeah, I’m not gonna comment on that one,” said head coach Matt Eberflus with a smile. “I’m not gonna comment on that one.”
The offense sputtered on that drive and settled for a Cairo Santos field goal to put them up 30-14 early in the fourth quarter. But the Commanders responded with a quick touchdown drive to cut the lead to 30-20 and give Bears fans nightmarish flashbacks to last week’s monumental 21-point collapse against the Broncos.
The Bears ultimately won by 20, so the play didn’t hurt them, but it could’ve sealed the Bears win a bit sooner.