Washington 10th in passing yardage, Bears 23rd in pass yardage allowed, both with 271 yards per game. Bears No. 3 in interception percentage.
For all of the passing firepower wrought by quarterback Robert Griffin III in his rookie year, he has declined from that standard and, as importantly, brought the Washington receivers down with him.
Washington receivers are averaging 11.6 yards per catch with nothing longer than 44 yards and only six touchdowns. The Bears are averaging 11.4 yards on their receptions but have taken 12 passes into the end zone.
Pierre Garcon (35 rec.) has more than twice as many catches as the next Wasington pass-catcher (three tied with 17).
Garcon and Bears cornerback Tim Jennings were teammates with the Indianapolis Colts in 2008-09 so there is bound to be some residual familiarity. Cornerback Charles Tillman (6-1) is expected to be matched up on 6-2 Leonard Hankerson and Jennings on Garcon when the Bears go man-to-man.
The Dallas Cowboys, playing a defensive scheme similar to the Bears’, allowed Griffin 246 gross passing yards last weekend and Washington converted eight of 16 third downs. But Washington got no scores through the air.
Part of the reason lies in Garcon and Griffin having communication issues, according to Griffin following the Dallas game.
“[Dallas] played a lot of man coverage and got a lot of pressure on the QB,” Griffin said. “You gotta be able to beat man coverage and then whenever they are bringing that pressure on the QB, you have to be able to hit those holes that they’re leaving open.
“At times we did and we moved the ball, putting up more than 400 yards of offense, but you have to score touchdowns and that’s what we didn’t do.”
None of the 10 current Bears to have faced Washington has ever intercepted a pass, although Tillman has forced three fumbles in his four career Washington games.
The basic plan for dealing with Washington’s pass game, however, is holistic: cover RGIII’s receivers until the pass rush can get there.
“[Griffin] is one of those guys that can buy time, like a Ben Roethlisberger,” Jennings said. “Of course, he’s looking to run the ball more than Ben, but he’s got guys on all sides that can make plays. He has that triple threat, where he can run and pass. He can make plays.
“You just have to figure out and try to be able to contain him. Take something away from him and make him feel uncomfortable in the pocket. But he’s a threat and we just got to be able to come in and just take away some things he wants to do.”