The 5th Quarter: Bears
Both teams came into Sunday’s match-up with one win on the season. If there can be a must win in week six, this was one for both teams. The Redskins offense gave up its league leading fifth turnover for a touchdown. This time though, it was in the second quarter allowing the coaching staff to address it at halftime instead of in the third quarter in which the Redskins have been outscored 7-35 this season. This was a hard-fought game all-around and when the dust settled, the Redskins came away with a much-needed victory going into the bye week.
Clinton Portis led the way with 36 carries for 171 yards for an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Portis torched the Bears defense for 5 runs of 10 yards or more including 2 for 19 yards. Ladell Betts was also effective in a reserve role, with 6 carries for 30 yards. One thing of note was an increased number of runs to the outside to counter the Bears defense stacked in the box. These runs appeared to take the Bears off guard and at least early in the game begot huge chunks of yardage. The Redskins ended with 218 yards total rushing on 47 carries.
The Redskins passing game continues to struggle. Besides the 18-yard touchdown strike to Rod Gardner on the first play of the second quarter, Mark Brunell had a terrible game. All of his short passes seemed to be batted down by defenders and all of the deep passes seemed to overshoot his receivers by 5 yards. Twice he missed wide-open targets behind the defense that would have been touchdowns, but instead were incomplete passes. On the day, Brunell hit 8 of his 22 passes for 95 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, which was returned 70 yards for a score by Jerry Azumah.
What is there to say about the Redskins defense? They continue to dominate opponents. They continue to keep their team in the game by stifling their opponent’s offense. Sean Taylor had a break out performance with his first sack to stop a Chicago drive with 1:33 remaining in the third quarter. Taylor then sealed the victory by intercepting Jonathan Quinn deep in Redskins territory with 25 seconds left in the game. Beside the big plays, he seemed to be everywhere, making every tackle and starting to look like the guy we drafted. He looked great and he will only get better. Cornelius Griffin also looked good with 8 tackles and two sacks. Shawn Springs also added a sack. Fred Smoot gave a heroic effort playing through a stinger on his left shoulder and a slightly separated right shoulder. Marcus Washington continued to impress with his domination of Desmond Clark. The only thing the defense can do to improve the team even more, would be to teach the offense and special teams how to tackle.
The Redskins came into this game with John Hall injured and Ola Kimrin, signed from Sweden late last week making his first NFL start. In pre-game warm-ups, Kimrin missed 90% of his kicks according to the announcers and no one was sure what to expect. His first kick-off was reassuring however, sailing 63 yards. He then quickly converted a 41-yard field goal on Washington’s second drive to calm the nerves of Redskins fans that have endured the kicking woes of the last 10 years. Kimrin ended the day 2 for 2 on field goals and 1 for 1 on extra points. Tupa had a busy day with 9 punts for an average of 43 yards. Chad Morton had a decent day, although he was forced into way too many fair catch calls. The kick and punt coverage teams continue to struggle though, giving up big returns at inopportune times.
This article was released on 2004-10-18.
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