SPORTS INSIDER – Redskins outlast Bears 24-21, remain atop NFC East

DC SPOTLIGHT - PHOTO Redskins and Chicago BearsDecember 14, 2015
Ceci Ferrara
Sports Writer
Sports Insider

Kirk Cousins threw for 300 yards and the Washington Redskins snapped a nine-game on-the-road losing streak as they held off the Bears 24-21 on Sunday. The victory was their first on the road this season, and keeps them at the forefront of the playoff picture.

“It feels good to win, especially on the road,” said Cousins, who went 24-of-31 for one touchdown. “It’s not an easy thing to do. It felt like it took the whole team. It took special team plays, defense plays, offensive plays. It took a lot of different guys making plays, contributing to find a way.”

Jordan Reed came up big for Washington with 120 yards and one touchdown on nine catches. Matt Jones was the team’s biggest ground threat, rushing for 62 yards on 18 carries. Alfred Morris added 24 yards, including the game’s first touchdown. The defense made important stops and linebacker Trent Murphy had his first forced fumble of the year.

After a disappointing loss to the Cowboys at home last Monday, the Skins were hoping to bounce back against Chicago (5-8). On the road, the odds were stacked against them; they hadn’t won an away from home game since last season (October 27, 2014 in Dallas). Their most competitive match-up this year had come on October 11th in Atlanta; the Falcons won 25-19.

The Redskins jumped ahead early, leading 14-0 by the beginning of the second quarter. But with just 1:10 left before the break, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler led his team to the end zone to cut the deficit to seven and avoid a first-half shutout.

Washington then scored on their first possession of the third quarter to extend their lead to 21-7, and for the first time in a long time, the Redskins’ road woes appeared to be behind them. Unfortunately, a late-game rally by the Bears blew the wind out of their sails, as Chicago scored 14 unanswered points before the end of the third to tie the game 21-21.

The Redskins regained the lead at the beginning of the fourth, with a 47-yard field goal, but the Bears once again threatened in the final minutes. With the ball and 2:11 remaining, Chicago moved down field and into Washington territory, before a missed 50-yard field goal by Robbie Gould sealed the Redskins victory.

Washington (6-7) remains tied with Philadelphia, who beat the Bills on Sunday, and moved 1/2 game ahead of the New York Giants, who play Miami on Monday night. With a 28-7 loss to the Packers, the Dallas Cowboys fell to 4-9. Though their playoff hopes are dim, they are not completely extinguished. But for now, the Redskins are leading the pack.

“We have everything we want still in front of us,” coach Jay Gruden said. “It keeps us alive, it keeps our heart beeping, heart pumping, guys should be excited to come back to work on Monday.”

The Redskins will next host the Bills, before ending their season on the road against the Eagles and Cowboys. With losing records and unpredictable performances to go around, the winner of the NFC East is still anyone’s guess.


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