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Kicker atones for two earlier misses

CHICAGO (AP) -- Paul Edinger ignored the gusting winds and the
memories of the two makable field goals he'd already missed as he
walked onto the field, thinking of nothing but his target.

With the winds howling again, Edinger focused on the left
upright and kicked -- hard. Most in the stadium figured it was
another miss as the ball sailed left and low, but not Edinger.

Question on the Redskins: Will Tim Hasselbeck draw any trade interest as a starter next year?
Hasselbeck will be in the second or third tier of available quarterbacks during this particular offseason. He's going to be competing with Mark Brunell and probably Kurt Warner as well as a couple excellent quarterbacks coming out of the draft. There will be more than a few teams hurting that will need someone though, and I'm sure his name will pop up.

Question on the Bears: If Dick Jauron stays, do you expect any changes among the coordinators?
I don't expect any changes on the staff because of the way the Bears have played as of late. They are playing aggressive, physical defense and are productive offensively. This team has been plagued the past two seasons, and that shouldn't be held against this staff. If Jauron and his staff remain, I expect the Bears to be significantly better next season.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

The ball curved right just as he knew it would, skimming over
the bar for a 45-yard field goal with 5 seconds left that gave the
Chicago Bears a 27-24 victory over the Washington Redskins on
Sunday.

"After those last two kicks, I said in my mind I was going to
aim it there and I'm not going to second-guess myself," Edinger
said. "It ended up right down the middle."

As the Bears celebrated, the Redskins watched in stunned
silence.

"I almost didn't even watch it because I thought no way he's
going to make it because of the conditions the way they were and
what happened before," Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck said.
"I didn't believe it until I saw guys on their side run across the
field.

"It takes the wind out of you because we thought we were in it.
It's so hard to be in games and lose closely."

It was the fifth loss in six games for the Redskins (5-10), who
have lost six games this year by four points or less.

The Bears (7-8) have won four of their last five. They must win
at Kansas City next Sunday to finish at .500 and avoid their fourth
losing season in five years under Dick Jauron.

"It's more pride and heart right now," Bears running back
Anthony Thomas said. "We can't go to the playoffs, so we just want
to try and go .500 and get something started for next year."

Thomas finished with a season-high 141 yards rushing, and Rex
Grossman improved to 2-0 as a starter. Facing Steve Spurrier, his
coach at Florida, he was 19-of-32 for 249 yards and two touchdowns.
His first career scoring pass was perfect, a 59-yard strike to
Marty Booker over Champ Bailey. As Booker jumped into the stands
behind the end zone, Grossman grabbed the ball and trotted back to
the sideline.

"It was ironic looking over at the sidelines during the game,"
Grossman said of Spurrier. "It's just kind of weird that we're in
this position because two years ago this time we were getting ready
to play the Orange Bowl. This year, I'm playing with the Bears
against him and the Redskins. It was a little weird, but it was fun
to play him."

The loss spoiled a stellar effort by Hasselbeck. After finishing
with a zero quarterback rating last weekend, Hasselbeck got off to
a horrid start Sunday, throwing incompletions on his first six
passes.

But he completed 16 of his last 19, throwing for 209 yards and
two touchdowns. He finished with a rating of 116.9.

"If we get a win, I'd rather have stats like I had last week,"
Hasselbeck said. "When you're losing as many games as we're losing
and you're losing the way we're losing, nothing can cure that like
a win can."

Edinger knows exactly how that feels. He was one of the NFL's
most accurate kickers his first three seasons, and began this
season 14-for-14 on field goals. But he'd missed five of his last
12 kicks and had another blocked coming into Sunday's game.

He missed two more Sunday, one from 30 yards and another from 33
yards with 8:09 to play. Granted, the winds at Soldier Field were
nasty, gusting up to 22 mph and swirling all over, but stats don't
have asterisks for weather conditions.

"I don't know that anybody in here has any idea how good a kick
that really was," Jauron said. "It was hard to kick the ball
today. Every time it went in the air, you had no idea what the wind
was going to do."

The Bears gave Edinger one last change, stuffing Hasselbeck on a
third-and-1 at their own 43. The Redskins went for it, but rookie
tackle Derrick Docerky was whistled for a false start, forcing a
punt.

Grossman connected with David Terrell on a 22-yard pass, and
Thomas converted on a huge fourth-and-inches to keep the drive
alive at the Washington 37. Grossman then hit Dez White for a
9-yard gain to get within field goal range.

One play later, Edinger came through.

"I wanted to get right back out there, every time," he said.
"We got in position and I came through. I'm glad I did to help my
team win. It feels good."

Game notes
After beating Chicago in six straight games, Washington has
lost the last two. ... Booker caught a pass in his 57th straight
game, tying a franchise record. ... Bailey left the game with face
lacerations.

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