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Redskins-Bears Live Blog from FedEx Field

Redskins-Bears Live Blog from FedEx Field

Live from the press box at FedEx Field

Right now, just about an hour before kickoff, there are more media members in the stadium than fans.

It's right around freezing now and I can vouch for that. As I made my way through the media parking lot to the bus that takes me, the Redskins Band, the beer vendors and the luxury box servers, there were many patches composed of part water and part ice. It made the going a bit tricky.

The field looks like it's in great shape. They either have the greatest groundskeepers in the world or some damn fine painters. Whichever it is, the Steelers should look into borrowing them.

Suisham is nailing field goal tries from 40 with plenty to spare—he just nailed one that went just a few feet below the top of the goal posts as it went through. It seems that he's over that midseason slump he was in. You never know with a kicker, but he looks like he's a keeper.

There was some talk that Sean Springs would miss tonight's game with the back injury he suffered last week—make that four days ago—against the Bills. But he's active and out there warming up in the end zone just in front of me.

One somewhat surprising name on the inactive list is Todd Wade. It looks like Stephon Heyer is going to get yet another opportunity to make the Redskins wonder if they need to keep spending all of this money on Wade. Or on Jon Jansen, for that matter.

Starting next to Heyer will be Randy Thomas, seeing his first action since Week 2. His left arm is in a brace. It will be interesting to see what kind of form he's in. It's not as though Jason Fabini has done a horrible job by any stretch, but you have to think that Thomas is an immediate upgrade, kind of like making a December trade to shore up the O-line.

I've been coming to this stadium since it opened, sitting in the same end zone either in the stands or in the press box. I just found out that this is the West end zone. It's the one to the left as you're watching on TV, in case anyone cares.

After a week off, apparently out of respect for Sean Taylor, the pregame fireworks are back. Hopefully the smoke will clear prior to kickoff.

No surprise, the greatest play in Redskins history, by a vote of some fans, was John Riggins' fourth and one run in Super Bowl XVII.

We have a new press box announcer. I don't know if he's a fill in or if the other guy got the axe. Maybe the old guy finally got the name of the ball carrier and the yardage of the play right on the same play and retired.

First quarter

14:50—The Bears get the ball at the 34 and it feels like a major victory.

13:36—Chicago is operating without a huddle until a third and nine. The huddle apparently was insufficient as the Bears had to burn a timeout.

13:31—Rex throws both low and short of the first down line.

13:24—How did Cartwright miss blocking that punt?

13:00—Portis gains two yards, maintaining his average from last week.

12:33—An unimpressive three and out for the Redskins on their initial series.

12:00—A good punt by Frost, netting 39 as he angled it straight out of bounds. If he can do that all day, we'll take it. In fact, if he can do that for the rest of the year, we'll take it.

11:37—The tackling has not been very solid for the Redskins so far. Adrian Peterson broke a few to get a first down.

10:58—The Bears are huddling up on this series.

10:53—Grossman is down, he took a pretty good smack after firing an incompletion. Leg or knee got bent the wrong way, and there was an audible "ooh" in the press box when it was shown on replay. Rex is limping off.

10:44—The Bears had the screen called against a Redskins blitz and McIntosh got through quickly enough to prevent a cold Brian Griese from completing it. Bears punt down to Washington eight yard line.

10:31—Grossman is out for the rest of the game with a knee injury.

10:00—Skins in no-huddle now.

9:26—No gain for Portis on third and two. Skins will punt from their own 16.

8:45—Hester is influencing field position. 46-yard punt with 16 on the return and the Bears are in Washington territory at the 46.

8:30—Another missed tackle, this time by McIntosh. A loss of one becomes a gain of three.

5:43—Berrian had a step on Springs, but it didn't look like he made much of an effort to drag the second foot in.

5:32—Kedric Golston gets a hand on Gould's 47-yard field goal attempt and gets the block. That keept the Bears off the board and gives the Redskins their best field position of the day.

5:23—Another two-yard gain for Portis.

4:26—Back to back first downs on passes to Portis and Cooley. The no-huddle is rolling.

3:06—It stalls outside of the Red Zone as Cooley is a yard short.

2:36—I spoke too soon about Suisham. He was just well short from 47.

2:00—A third-down sack of Griese by Carter and a gang of others.

0:00—22 yards to ARE and the Skins convert after a sack.

End of first quarter
Redskins 0, Bears 0

15:00—It took nine security guards to subdue and remove some clown who ran onto the field and to where the players were about to snap the ball.

13:45—A great blitz pickup by Portis allows Campbell to Cooley for 22.

12:04—Another Red Zone trip ends with a field goal attempt—it's a miss, wide left. I'll never say another nice thing about Suisham again.

9:26—This time the Chicago screen against the blitz worked for nine. Third and one.

7:11—A sack by M. Washington slows a steady Chicago march. Third and 10. Griese misfires and the Bears punt.

5:01—Campbell goes out after taking a blow to the arm on a scramble. It looks like he's going to go back in, but it's not certain.

3:42—A three and out for the Bears. Griese is awful.

2:49—Campbell is down again, this time the cart is coming out. It's a knee or something very painful in the lower leg. It has season-ending written all over it.

2:49—Chris Cooley is going to the locker room, too. Appears to be an ankle injury.

2:23—Leigh Torrence makes a good play to knock a punt out of bounds at the one.

1:50—Griese scrambled and chose to dive a yard shy of the first down. Of course, we haven't seen Collins in action yet, so we don't yet know who the worst QB on the field is yet.

1:07—Collins gets blindsided and stripped, trashing decent field position for the Redskins. Now the Bears have a shot at getting on the board.

0:24—Interception and big return of 53 yards by Springs. Now the Redskins have a shot from the 21.

Yoder 21 pass from Collins (Suisham kick)
Redskins 7, Bears 0

A nice pass by Collins, who had all kinds of time to throw. Yoder did a nice job of hanging on to the ball as a defender tries to strip it away around the one.

0:04—After getting no interceptions all year, Springs gets two in the half. Both were on passes intended for Hester.

End of first half
Redskins 7, Bears 0

With the injuries, this could be a pyrrhic victory for the Redskins.

 

Off the top of my head, this is the first time that the Redskins have held the opposition scoreless in the first half. Having a halftime lead, however, is no guarantee of success as we well know.

Campbell is out with a torn patellar tendon.

14:57—I don't know if the Bears think that Rock Cartwright is Hester, but they sure kicked away from him there.

13:02—A great run on a little screen to Portis, as he dodged and weaved for 54 yards on third and two. The dreaded first and goal at the one.

Sellers 1 run (Suisham kick)
Redskins 14, Bears 0

11:50—Landry drops a sure pick after it rolled out of the TE's hands.

10:38—An offside call against M. Washington nullifies a third down stop. Third and two from the 21. Then the play clock ran out on the Bears

9:26—A nice catch by Berrian followed by a circus job by Olson has the Bears in scoring range.

7:42—The Bears commit their second false start of the drive, first and 15.

6:56—A false start negates a third and nine stop. Then another delay of game pushes them back five more.

5:59—Torrence makes another play, a good tackle to force a field goal attempt.

FG Gould 30
Redskins 14, Bears 3

The Bears ate up 6:28 to get just three points. If the Redskins don't give them a short field it will be tough for Chicago to catch up.

Of course, I remember typing something similar at this point in the Bills game.

4:33—A three and out, of course, does not help the Redskins' cause in the least. Nor does a punt and penalty that gives the Bears the ball just past midfield.

3:23—The Bears might just have put together a three-play, 48-yard TD drive. A pass to Berrian in the end zone was ruled incomplete but it looks like Chicago may have a good case in its challenge.

Yes, they did.

Berrian 17 pass from Griese (Gould kick)
Redskins 14, Bears 10

3:04—Portis is back in after missing a series with what was announced as a stomach virus. He immediately picks up seven.

1:26—A holding call against Heyer negates a 13-yard completion on first down into Chicago territory. First and 20.

End of third quarter
Redskins 14, Bears 10

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But, the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But, without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110, but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then, it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!