CHICAGO—My five observations from Redskins 41-21 win over the Bears:
—Kirk Cousins rebounded from his worst game of the season to put on very efficient performance in leading the offense. He passed for one touchdown and ran for two more (becoming the first QB this year with multiple rushing touchdowns in a game). Most of his passes were crisp and on target and those that weren’t had zero chance of getting intercepted.
—After struggles that were not all his fault the last few games, Rob Kelley ran for 76 yards on 19 carries. He did what he does, grinding out yards, turning potential losses into short gains and short gains into second and three. When Kelley went out with a knee sprain, Mack Brown came in and provided the icing on the cake with a 61-yard touchdown run when the Redskins were just trying to chew up the last minute of the clock. It might be hard to keep Brown off of the field if the Redskins get on a roll running the ball and need some relief for Kelley.
—The Redskins came into the game with seven interceptions on the season. They got five off of Matt Barkley today. Josh Norman and Bashaud were in a group of seven defenders who were tied for the team lead in interceptions with one each. Now Norman and Breeland are tied with three each on the season and Will Blackmon got into the group that is still tied at one. The Bears did pile up some yards (458) but the Redskins were able to stay in command the entire way thanks to the takeaways.
—Preston Smith came to play. It looked like the Bears were going to answer the Redskins’ first touchdown with a short field goal but Smith got his arms up and blocked it. He also got the Redskins’ only sack of the game and he had another one negated by a penalty. He also forced a few errant Barkley throws by getting pressure. If he can stay heated up—and we’ve seen a few good performances by him this year only to have him follow up by disappearing for several games—the Redskins D will be much better off.
—The Redskins can now finish no worse than 8-7-1. That’s (just barely) a winning season and after their 9-7 finish last year they have back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1996-1997. It’s not an accomplishment that calls for a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue or anything but clearly it is a step in the right direction.