courtesy of ‘Tony DeFilippo’
In what was a very sloppy game, the Redskins overcame some close calls and played opportunistic ball as they defeated the Bears 17-14. Both teams combined for 9 turnovers, 13 penalties, and 4 third down conversions on 23 attempts. Basically, who ever wanted it more would win this game. After trailing 14-10 in the first half, the Skins got two breaks in the 3rd quarter. First, an apparent touchdown sneak by Jay Cutler was not called by the officials and, even more surprisingly, the Bears did not challenge the call. Albert Haynesworth caused a fumble on that play but right after the Skins took possession, Donovan McNabb threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown…except it was called back due to a delay of game on the offense. As bad as McNabb looked at times, Cutler looked worse. He had 281 yards passing, but threw 4 interceptions and lost a fumble. With the victory the Skins improve to 4-3 and get their first road win on the season.
Positives – There’s no doubt that DeAngelo Hall was the best player on the field. He tied an NFL record with 4 interceptions in the game, one of which he returned for a 92-yard touchdown. It seemed that his disagreement with Jim Haslett over defensive assignments may have paid off. If Hall was the game MVP, then Haynesworth was the runner-up. After missing the last two games, he created havoc in the Chicago pocket with his bull rush, causing the goal-line fumble and registering a sack. It’s also a good thing that he wasn’t dealt at the trade deadline last Tuesday despite the rumors. Offensively, there wasn’t much to brag about. Ryan Torain had another strong game with 125 yards on 21 carries but fumbled twice. Chris Cooley also looked good despite showing some lingering effects from the concussion he suffered last week against the Colts. Cooley finished with 7 catches for 52 yards and made a smart play batting a fumble out of bounds after it was stripped from his hands.
Negatives – McNabb may have had his worst game of the season. He completed only 53% of his passes and threw 2 interceptions. McNabb also made a mistake when, instead of taking a sack, he threw the ball with a defender in his face, had it tipped, and then intercepted for a touchdown. He is still adjusting to a new offense and changing his footwork, but he can’t continue to have games like this and except victory. The interior of the Skins offensive line broke down protection too many times. Casey Rabach, in particular, had difficulty containing defensive tackles Israel Idonije and Anthony Adams plus struggled with a couple of his shotgun snaps. As dependable as Rabach has been over the past several years, his play has deteriorated with age. He may need to be replaced next season. Defensively, the Skins showed poor tackling again and gave up a 48-yard pass play as result. Finally, Graham Gano missed another field goal under 40 yards. Another veteran kicker should be brought in to provide some competition. Gano has looked shaky since the Green Bay game and field goals will be important given the offense’s difficulty producing in the red zone.