It was another strange one for the Bears. And another disappointing loss. "It was a weird game, but in this league all the games have their own personality," defensive end Julius Peppers said after Washington defeated Chicago 17-14 at Soldier Field on Sunday.
It was another strange one for the Bears. And another disappointing loss.
"It was a weird game, but in this league all the games have their own personality," defensive end Julius Peppers said after Washington defeated Chicago 17-14 at Soldier Field on Sunday.
"It’s frustrating. We should have won that game. You have to give credit to the other team, but we should have won that game. There’s no doubt in my mind, we should have won that game."
But they didn’t, and Chicago (4-3) (((slipped into a tie with Green Bay (???) for the lead in the NFC North with the loss. OR clung to first place in the NFC North after Green Bay (???) lost to Minnesota (???) on Sunday night.)))
Early on, Chicago’s defense was Chicago’s offense. Defensive end Israel Idonije tipped a Donovan McNabb pass up into the air in the first quarter, and cornerback D.J. Moore pulled it in and returned the interception 54 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Cutler rebounded from a poor start — that included three first-half sacks and six straight punts — to lead the Bears on a 7-play, 70-yard drive that gave them a 14-10 halftime lead. Cutler connected on seven straight passes and hit Johnny Knox for a 9-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone with 24 seconds left in the second quarter.
That’s when it all went haywire.
"That’s just how it goes sometimes. It’s a funny game," Cutler said. "It comes in waves. It’s up and down and back and forth sometimes."
In a bizarre second-half stretch, the Bears and Redskins traded turnovers in seven out of eight possessions. It all began when Cutler — who threw four interceptions, all to ’Skins cornerback DeAngelo Hall — attempted to dive over the goal line from the 1-yard-line, but was knocked backward and fumbled.
Moore then appeared to have another pick-six three plays later. However, a delay of game penalty negated the interception, and Washington punted, only to get the ball back on the next snap when Cutler hit Hall in the numbers.
"I’ve never been involved in something like that. Never," Moore said. "I didn’t see the flag after I got in, so I was just excited. When they called it back, I just said something good will happen. Then they intercepted it back, so, yeah, it hurt us big time."
The Redskins momentum didn’t last long either as Chicago safety Danieal Manning hauled in a pick of his own three plays later.
And it wasn’t over yet. On the tail end of a 65-yard drive, Cutler threw a jump ball to Knox, but Hall took it away and returned the interception 92 yards for a 17-14 Washington lead.
The Bears were driving in an attempt to retake the lead on the next possession, but running back Matt Forte (10 carries for 41 yards) fumbled it away on the Washington 25. Redskins running back Ryan Torain (21-125) then fumbled it back to the Bears. But no worries for Washington: Cutler was picked off by Hall again four plays later.
"You can’t turn the ball over that many times — it’s as simple as that," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "You have to give them some credit, especially Hall... but you have to say it was on us, too."
The Redskins threw two interceptions and fumbled six times, losing only one. Cutler, who finished with 281 yards through the air, had five of Chicago’s six turnovers, the most since a five-interception loss to the 49ers last Nov. 12.
"We all struggled on offense," center Olin Kreutz said, "which always makes the QB look like he’s struggling."
Whether or not it was Cutler’s fault, it leaves the Bears searching for answers headed into the bye week.
"We’re going to be disappointed for a little bit over this one because it hurts," Peppers added. "And it should hurt."
Bears reporter Jay Taft can be reached at 815-987-1384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.