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Bears' Darnell Mooney on final play in loss: 'If I just catch the damn ball the first time, we win the game'

Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney bobbled the initial catch of a potential game-winning fourth-down touchdown, and by the time he corralled the pigskin, he was outside of the end zone and landed out of bounds.

The juggle sealed the Bears' 12-7 loss to the Washington Commanders on Thursday night at Soldier Field.

"If I just catch the damn ball the first time, we win the game," Mooney said, via NBC Sports Chicago.

Mooney said he lost the ball in the lights while trying to make the snag.

"At that period of time, I'm literally just telling myself, 'Just please, give me this ball. Give me this ball,'" Mooney said. "I just got to close the game for us. If I want to be that player, I want to be that guy for our team, I got to make that play."

Chicago had a host of chances to make a play. The Bears squandered three trips inside the 5-yard-line, coming away with zero points. Despite outgaining Washington 392-214 with 238 rushing yards, the red-zone struggles, coupled with two turnovers, cost Chicago a victory.

On the Bears' first red-zone drive, QB Justin Fields zipped a pass that careened off the helmet of Commanders defensive end Efe Obada and was picked off. The play was emblematic of an up-and-down night for the quarterback who made plays to move the ball -- Chicago had just one 3-and-out -- but struggled to be consistently accurate while under siege in the pocket.

Fields finished 14-of-27 passing for 190 pass yards with a TD and an INT for a 71.5 passer rating. He also led the team in rushing with 88 yards. The QB struggled versus pressure, going 3-of-11 for 14 yards and an interception versus the blitz, per Next Gen Stats. He has been sacked 23 times this season, tied for most in the NFL with Carson Wentz (entering Sunday's action), not all of them Thursday on the offensive line.

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said Fields' ability to move the ball into the red zone showed positive signs of development.

"I think he took a step forward," Eberflus said, via Courtney Cronin of "I really do. Because, the toughness. For me, the ability to take the ball and drive it down at the very end to give us a chance to win it, that's to me what was the improvement. OK? Was there other moments that we need to clean up and offense needs to clean up? Sure. But we had the drives down there and if we punch those in, the game's a different game. That's 21 points. So for me, that was really inspiring to watch him do that at the very end, to take us down to win it at the very end. And again, we came up short. We've got to do a better job next time."

Even with the struggles, the Bears had a chance to pull out the victory but came a hair shy.

"I got to be there for my guy, man," Mooney said of Fields. "He called my number. I just got to be there for him."

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