NFL Nation: 2013 Week 7 CHI at WAS Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Washington Redskins

October, 20, 2013

LANDOVER, Md. -- A few thoughts on the Washington Redskins' 45-41 win over the Chicago Bears:

What it means: The Redskins sorely needed a win, not just for their psyche but to make them believe they still have a chance at contending for a playoff spot. A loss may have ended their season and ignited speculation regarding coach Mike Shanahan’s future. They did not exactly impress on defense against backup quarterback Josh McCown, who entered for the injured Jay Cutler, but the Redskins’ offense was magnificent and, for the first time this season, looked like what was expected. Quarterback Robert Griffin III led a late touchdown drive, which will further boost the belief that he is back to what he was. Griffin wasn’t perfect and neither were the Redskins, but they had a lot go against them (a lot of their own doing) and still won. Winning one game is not enough to say they’re back, but it’s the first time they could leave a game at home feeling good.

Comeback man: Griffin led his third come-from-behind win, and it may have been the most important of his young career, given how he has played this season and the spot Washington had put itself in. Griffin did a good job with his legs most of the game; the Bears played a lot of man coverage, leaving the outside open for him on zone-read runs. Griffin was calm and delivered smart passes on the game-winning drive. He passed for 298 yards and ran for 84 on the day.

Star is born: Redskins rookie tight end Jordan Reed has played well this season, and he had a huge day as Chicago could not stop him. Reed’s athleticism will lead to many more big days in the future. He’s a downfield threat as Chicago discovered during his nine-catch, 134-yard day that included one touchdown.

Stock watch: Still down: special teams. Maybe it was just one bad play, but it resulted in yet another touchdown. Devin Hester has done that to a lot of teams, but he had not run one back for a score since 2011. The Redskins lost contain on the outside after pinning him to the left. Also down: safety Brandon Meriweather. He has a bad history of personal fouls. The league will be in touch.

Stock up: Roy Helu. He scored three touchdowns, showing good patience inside the red zone and strong cutbacks followed by power. Also up: linebacker Brian Orakpo, who intercepted a pass for the first time in his career and returned it for a touchdown.

What's next: The Redskins play at high-powered Denver next Sunday in Shanahan’s first return to his former home. Shanahan was fired after the 2008 season following a 14-year tenure.

Rapid Reaction: Chicago Bears

October, 20, 2013

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.