Shanahan: "Every game is big...we sure needed it"
Game Recap: It took until Week 7, but it finally happened: Robert Griffin III put together a performance reminiscent of his scintillating rookie season.
And it couldn’t have arrived at a better time for the Redskins.
Griffin rushed for 84 yards, passed for 298 more and sparked a fourth quarter rally for Washington, which escaped with a season-preserving 45-41 victory over the Jay Cutler-less Bears at FedEx Field.
With the win, the Redskins improved to 2-4 and, in the process, breathed a little bit of life back into a season that, at various times Sunday, was on life support.
Late in the fourth quarter, safety Brandon Meriweather hit Brandon Marshall in the end zone and was flagged for his second personal foul of the game, putting the ball at the Redskins’ seven-yard line. One play later, Josh McCown, who replaced an injured Cutler in the second quarter, connected with Martellus Bennett to put the Bears ahead, 41-38.
But Griffin and the Redskins had one more drive in them.
The second-year signal caller expertly directed a 12-play drive that Roy Helu capped with his career-best third touchdown of the afternoon. The touchdown, scored with 45 seconds left, put the Redskins ahead for good, 45-41.
On the ensuing drive, Barry Cofield sacked McCown to seal the win.
Not even a third consecutive disastrous performance on special teams could sink the Redskins. Devin Hester returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown to knot the score, 17-17, in the second quarter.
Then things got really interesting in the second half. Matt Forte scored his third touchdown (2, 50 and 6) of the afternoon early in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 31.
But the Redskins answered on their next drive. Aldrick Robinson hauled in his first touchdown of the season—a 45-yard bomb from Griffin—to cap a five-play, 80-yard drive that put the home team ahead 38-31.
A 49-yard field goal by Robbie Gould cut the Bears’ deficit to 38-34 with 8:44 left to play.
Bennett’s touchdown gave the Bears a brief moment of hope. But Griffin made sure that the Redskins didn’t leave empty handed in a game they simply couldn’t afford to lose.
Key Moment: Chris Baker’s first career sack resulted in an injury for Cutler, who suffered a groin muscle strain early in the second quarter did not return. With Cutler out, the Bears turned to McCown, who finished 14 of 20 for 204 yards and a touchdown. Cutler entered the game sixth in both completion percentage (65.9) and touchdowns (12).
Player of the Game: Tight end Jordan Reed, who hauled in nine passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. The rookie did the majority of his damage in the first half, grabbing six passes (on six targets) for a career-high 86 yards and a score that put the Redskins ahead 24-17 at halftime.
Roster update: If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now. Veteran Fred Davis is no longer the Redskins’ No. 1 tight end. That job now belongs to Reed. Davis, who was inactive for the second time this season, could have departed Washington last offseason via free agency but chose to return on a one-year contract. Rookies Chris Thompson and Bacarri Rambo, meantime, were inactive for the second consecutive game.
From the Locker Room:
-The Redskins’ 499 yards of total offense were the most in a regulation game since 1991. They also racked 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing for the second straight week, marking a first in franchise history.
-Meriweather on his two personal fouls, which could draw the attention of the NFL: “Listen, you really don’t know. I talked to [the NFL] about my last fine and they told me to go lower. And I did and I still got flagged for it. So I really don’t know. I feel like every hit that I took was a legit hit. I wasn’t trying to be dirty. I wasn’t trying to hurt nobody. I didn’t lunge with my head. I used my shoulder like they told me to do.”
-Baker on his sack: “You never want to see someone get hurt, but it felt good to get my first sack.”
-Reed on his career day: “I was just trying to get open the best I could and [Griffin] sees me out there and throws perfect passes, catchable balls. And I just make plays for him. …I take pride in my routes and being able to create separation. I work on it every day and it’s paying off.”
-Griffin on his season-high 84 yards on the ground: “I know I have to have a mindset of protecting myself. Even though I ran a lot of today, I thought I did a better job protecting myself. Even when I cut back in, I got down, kept my legs down. I have got to do what I got to do to help this team win.”