Rapid Reaction: Washington Redskins
October, 20, 2013
By John Keim | ESPN.com
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.