Last week it was Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers piling up 451 yards and 30 points on the Bears, with the secondary in particular being unable to make a play at pivotal moments. This week it was the Washington Redskins, going one better than the Packers and amassing 478 yards and 41 points, albeit with help from a Chicago offense that twice gave Washington the football on interceptions inside the Chicago 30.
But the Redskins didn’t necessarily need the largesse of the Chicago offense to do what it did to the Bears. The defense that came in ranked No. 3 in sacks per pass play and fourth in total sacks with 37, at times looked to be playing a seven-on-seven drill, in which no rush is permitted. The lack of pressure exposed the lack of speed in the Bears secondary, with Washington averaging 15 yards per pass reception.
Washington had 318 offensive yards in the first half, 224 of those on passing by a defense that has been giving up just an average of 251 per game.
The situation was exacerbated by and somewhat the result of another rash of injuries to key defensive personnel involved in work against the pass: Leonard Floyd left in the first half with a concussion and Pernell McPhee injured a shoulder just before halftime, while safety Deon Bush was down with an ankle problem in the second quarter.
Defensive line: F
Washington rushed for 208 yards and quarterback Kirk Cousins was never sacked and took exactly one hit from a Bears defensive lineman – Akiem Hicks, who finished with 6 tackles, one for loss. Jonathan Bullard and Mitch Unrein each were credited with 2 tackles but pressure from down-linemen was lacking.
The pass rush on Kirk Cousins was virtually non-existent from the outset from the group expected to do the most at quarterback disruption.
Inside linebackers generated tackle totals but too many too deep in the secondary. Jerrell Freeman collected a game-high 9 tackles, including 8 solo and one for loss, in his return from a four-game suspension. Nick Kwiatkoski finished with 8 tackles but was ineffective in pass coverage.
Leonard Floyd, lost to a possible concussion in the first half, failed to close down on Chris Thompson’s 7-yard TD run in the first quarter, allowing Thompson a pass to the second level in short red-zone situation.
Pernell McPhee lost contain and was out-run by Cousins for a nine-yard TD run in the second quarter. McPhee was credited with 3 tackles while Willie Young failed to get to the quarterback as well, credited with 2 assisted tackles.
Kirk Cousins completed 18 of 29 passes for 270 yards and the Redskins converted on 8 of 13 third downs. The secondary was credited with just one pass defensed and again failed to come up with any desperately needed takeaways, and the breakdowns were throughout the secondary.
“We just didn’t cover,” said safety Adrian Amos. “The corners were by themselves. We just have to execute better, the safeties. The plays were there to be made; we just didn’t make enough of them.”
Cornerback Tracy Porter had perhaps his worst game as a pro. “I embarrassed myself,” he told reporters afterward. Porter was a step behind DeSean Jackson on what would turn into a 57-yard catch-and run, and behind Pierre Garcon on a 25-yarder in the second quarter. Porter then let Garcon get behind him for a 46-yard catch. Porter drew a 28-yard interference penalty for contact with Jackson late in the second quarter. Those plays represented a total of 156 yards for Washington in the first half.
Porter avoided further ignominy late in the third quarter when a Cousins pass went through the hands of Vernon Davis after the veteran tight end had gotten 10 yards separation from Porter in the Chicago end zone.
Deon Bush took a poor angle to close on a catch-and-run by DeSean Jackson, contributing to a 57-yard gainer in the first quarter after Jackson gained separation vs. Porter.
With Cre’Von LeBlanc inactive, recently acquired Johnathan Banks started at right cornerback, with Bryce Callahan at nickel. At one point in the second half rookie fourth-rounder Deiondre’ Hall was in for Porter (shoulder).
Hall appeared to need some instruction in correct behavior. He drew a flag for a hit to the face that injured Jackson in the third quarter, then drew a second hands-to-the-face flag well away from a play later in the drive that eventually ended with a Washington touchdown.
Special teams: C
The punt team executed a fake punt with up-man Chris Prosinski in the third quarter to sustain their opening possession in the half. The offense turned the ball over via interception two plays later but special teams gave the Bears an opportunity.
Deonte Thompson returned Washington’s first kickoff just 14 yards, for a starting point of the Chicago 15. The field-goal unit allowed too much middle penetration and got a 22-yard attempt be blocked in the first quarter.