Injuries, Defense Disappoint Bears in 45-41 Battle with Skins

Jay Cutler still down after being sacked by defensive end Chris Baker.
Jay Cutler still down after being sacked by Redskins defensive end Chris Baker. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Chicago Bears lost more than just a duel against the (2-4) Washington Redskins on Sunday. During the season’s second-highest scoring game thus far, three major players went down, including the man in the driver’s seat. In the cat and mouse game that tallied eight lead changes, Washington snatched the only one that mattered.

Before Jay Cutler was sacked early on in the second quarter by DE Chris Baker and subsequently limped off the field with a groin injury, there wasn’t much going. Instead, he was picked off two possessions earlier by LB Brian Orakpo who returned it 29 yards for the score.

The Bears did have a touchdown of their own. However, credit for the pick went to CB Peanut Tillman, and Matt Forte for the 2 yard score. While he would make six tackles during the remainder of the game, he would exit during the middle of the fourth to nurse a knee injury that has been lingering since it occurred back in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals and had him out entirely against the New York Giants last week.

In between those two big hits was the other crucial loss of LB Lance Briggs towards the end of the third. He aided the Bears defense with five tackles before leaving with a shoulder injury. There is no word yet on how extensive the damage might be for either of the three.

Devin Hester returns his 19th career touchdown, ties NFL record. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Devin Hester returns his 19th career touchdown, ties NFL record. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, return specialist Devin Hester reminded everyone why he is just that. With under 9 minutes to go in the second, his 81-yard punt return would not only tie the game at 17, but it would tie the NFL record of 19 career touchdown returns.

Washington, though, would take a 7-point lead going into halftime as Robert Griffin III would top off a 74-yard drive with a short pass to TE Jordan Reed across the goal line. Following word that Cutler would not return in the second half, Chicago’s backup quarterback Josh McCown went back out for the long haul.

And by then he was handling conditions very well. With the exception of a couple of drives that went somewhere but ended up nowhere, including an uncharacteristic missed field goal from Robbie Gould, McCown gave his best effort.

Devin Hester after his 19th career touchdown return, ties NFL record.
Matt Forte celebrates after his 50-yard touchdown run (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Still, today might have been Forte’s day. In the middle of the third, he rushed for another touchdown after making one quick jump cut to create 50 yards of running room. And so began the shootout.
Washington’s RB Roy Helu earned himself a rushing TD after a Redskins’ 83-yard drive and a 3-yard scoring run. Forte counteracted that with another of his own. After McCown made a couple of his own runs and short passes, Forte ran into the end zone for six yards. It was his third touchdown on the day, tying it up at 31 a piece.
RGIII was throwing like the very first time. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
RGIII was throwing like the very first time. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Make no mistake, RGIII wasn’t absent today and he was even quite reminiscent of his rookie days. He ended the Skins next possession with a 45-yard touchdown pass to a heavily guarded WR Aldrick Robinson.

With time narrowing down in the fourth, it seemed both defenses felt a second wind.

Chicago was unable to match the touchdown and instead settled for a 49-yard field goal from Gould. They would surprise the Redskins special teams with an almost-near-perfect onside kick attempt, with CB Zack Bowman recovering the ball. An arguable offsides was called against WR Eric Weems.

The Bears would get it back, however, after finally making a stop against Washington. They would go on to score their final touchdown when McCown connected with TE Martellus Bennett for a 7-yard reception. It was his only catch on the day.

Redskins running back Roy Helu runs in for the game winning touchdown. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Redskins running back Roy Helu runs in for the game winning touchdown. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

With under 4 minutes to go in the game, Washington used up three of them and ate up 80 yards of the field to score their final TD on a 3-yard run from Helu. That was all they would need as McCown was sacked on the final play of the game.

If a sack ever does hurt McCown like it did Cutler, there’s always Hester. He had quite the arm heaving the ball accurately across the field to hit WR Joe Anderson in a desperate attempt to make the most of the final minute.

What looked like a very bad bout on the Bears front could quite possibly turn right around in the week following their bye. Important business lay ahead at Lambeau Field for Monday Night Football Nov. 4, when they face the current division leader and rival Green Bay Packers (4-2). Kickoff at 7:40 CST.

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