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Sunday, October 20, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Chicago Bears

By Michael C. Wright
ESPN.com


LANDOVER, Md. -- A few thoughts on the Chicago Bears' 45-41 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday at FedEx Field:

What it means: A 4-3 record with an injured quarterback in Jay Cutler going into the bye isn’t ideal, but the Bears are in decent shape with a much needed week off on the horizon. The Bears need this time off to heal.

Stock watch: Josh McCown’s stock shot through the roof with his outing (119.6 passer rating), which should give the staff and his teammates confidence in him should Cutler be forced to miss extended time.

D on field too long: Chicago’s offense put the defense in a difficult bind in the first half by missing on all four of its conversions on third down. That resulted in Washington leading in time of possession 22:01 to 7:59, which means the defense was on the field way too long. The statistics indicated as much.

In taking a 24-17 lead at the half, the Redskins converted 4 of 8 third downs and racked up 14 first downs on 42 snaps. Chicago, meanwhile, generated just two first downs and 46 yards on 17 plays.

Record-tying Hester: Devin Hester finally produced the breakout game the team anticipated with his first touchdown this season on a return. Hester broke an 81-yard punt return for a TD with 5:52 left in the first half, and that score tied him with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders for most combined return TDs (19) in NFL history.

Hester reached 19 total return TDs in 114 games, while it took Sanders 188 games.

The Hester outing wasn’t unexpected. Washington gave up a touchdown on an 86-yard punt return last week, in addition to a 90-yard kickoff return that set up another Dallas Cowboys touchdown.

First miss: The seemingly automatic Robbie Gould missed his first field goal of the season with 9:30 left in the third quarter and his team down 24-17. Gould pushed the 34-yard attempt wide right.

Gould connected on a 47-yard attempt in the first quarter for his 11th-consecutive field goal without a miss this season. Gould hit a 49-yarder in the fourth quarter.

What’s next: The Bears return to Halas Hall on Monday for a 9:30 a.m. film review before an 11:30 team meeting. After that, the Bears receive the rest of the week off for their bye. The club won’t return to practice until 7:30 a.m. Oct. 28.