Emma: Observations From Bears-Redskins

LANDOVER, Md. (670 The Score) -- Never apologize for beating a bad team.
That Bears certainly shouldn't after handling the Redskins in a 31-15 win at FedEx Field on Monday night. A game against a scuffling team came at the right time, as coach Matt Nagy created a game plan that allowed quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to find rhythm against weak coverage while Chicago's defense re-established its takeaway trend by forcing five turnovers, the Bears' most since 2013.

Let's break down the most important storylines.

Last laugh
Where's 21?

Nagy yelled that out inside the split visiting locker room at FedEx Field, and there came veteran safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who gathered his teammates and broke down a victorious locker room.

"I came here to be a part of something special," Clinton-Dix told his team. "Let's enjoy this win."

Few enjoyed the spotlight quite like Clinton-Dix, who was facing a Redskins team that acquired him by trade last season but opted not to re-sign him. Clinton-Dix had a team-best nine tackles and two interceptions, including a pick-six of Redskins quarterback Case Keenum in the first quarter.

Clinton-Dix signed a one-year deal worth $3.5 million in March, a contract that was reflective of his play falling off since a Pro Bowl season with the Packers in 2016. But Clinton-Dix embraced the opportunity to prove himself. He felt playing with the NFL's top scoring defense of 2018 could help him elevate his play again.

While there were questions about how Clinton-Dix would fit with the defense, he has provided an answer in just three games.

So, did it feel good to make a statement back in Washington? 

"Hell yeah it did," Clinton-Dix replied.

Nagy has come to appreciate how Clinton-Dix has made his presence fit with this team.

"Ha Ha came in here understanding what this culture was all about," Nagy said. "We're really, I believe, pretty unique with the culture we have going on. He came in and was looking to fit in, and he did that."

Massie goes down

The absence of right tackle Bobby Massie came suddenly for the Bears on Monday. He arrived with the team at FedEx Field but wasn't feeling right.

The Bears ruled Massie inactive about 90 minutes before kickoff as he was suffering from a case of vertigo. They made a decision not long before that.

"Making a decision was probably within that half-hour to an hour (to revealing inactives)," Nagy said. "But it was quick notice. When we got here, he came in and said he wasn't feeling good. It's like, 'OK, guess we got to figure something out.'

"I think it's a small case of vertigo. It's not really that good when you have a guy who has to be balanced most of the game and you're not feeling real good with that. We'll see how that goes. But hopefully he's OK."

The Bears started reserve tackle Cornelius Lucas in place of Massie. While tackle Rashaad Coward was active, he's coming off an elbow injury suffered in August and had seen limited practice reps since.

Lucas filled in admirably given the late notice. With a short week awaiting for the Bears, Massie's health will be something to follow.

Revenge game

Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara heard of how Clinton-Dix enjoyed wreaking havoc in Washington, and he loved it.

While many players would downplay returning to face a former team as "just another game," Clinton-Dix and Amukamara are two veterans who are willing to be honest.

"I'm sure he wanted to do it against Green Bay, too," Amukamara said of Clinton-Dix's first team. "I mean, we're going to play them in a couple months over there. I hope he does it there. Aaron (Rodgers) is a little harder to get picks off of.

"It's just always sweeter to do it against your former team. I can't wait to go to London (to face the Raiders). Like, you think (Khalil) Mack is turning it on now? Wait 'til he gets to London. Mack's going to want to -- oh, gosh, I can't even imagine stuff like that.

"Even me playing against New York, it'd be great. It's just a sweet revenge."

Hicks hurt

Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks exited in the fourth quarter with a right knee injury and later left the locker room with a noticeable limp. 

Nagy downplayed the severity of the injury.

"I feel like he'll be OK," Nagy said.

The short week will present an added challenge to getting Hicks back to full speed before the Bears host the Vikings on Sunday. If Hicks can't play, Chicago would miss his Pro Bowl presence up front against a Minnesota offense that has established its running identity.

Closing time

When the Bears needed to put the Redskins away late, they turned to running back David Montgomery, who rushed 10 times for 56 yards in the second half. His work helped kill the clock as the Bears led by multiple scores. 

What Nagy appreciated was how Montgomery found success in clear rushing situations.

Extra points

-- Linebacker Danny Trevathan delivered a key play in the second quarter with a sack of Keenum. It came after he hesitated with a blitz in the B gap, which caused Redskins right guard Brandon Scherff to turn away and and thus create an opening to the quarterback. Backed up 11 more yards, Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a 43-yard field goal.

-- Bears receiver Taylor Gabriel embraces proving people wrong. He arrived in the NFL an undrafted free agent, a 5-foot-7 target determined to show what he can do. Three touchdowns in primetime will help Gabriel prove his point.

-- Don't blame Bears nickel cornerback Buster Skrine for the Redskins' third-quarter touchdown connection from Keenum to receiver Terry McLaurin. Skrine draped McLaurin with coverage, but Keenum put the ball on the spot and McLaurin made a good play.

-- The personality and discipline that the Bears love in Tarik Cohen was on display in the third quarter, when he took a catch 24 yards before being thrown down by Landon Collins. Rather than confronting Collins for the flagged hit, Cohen bounced right back up and celebrated.

-- The Bears moved to 2-1 but are tied with the Vikings at the bottom of the NFC North. The Packers lead at 3-0, while the Lions are 2-0-1. It's going to be a tight race in the division.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.