The problem with just about every game on the Bears’ 2013 schedule is that every team is capable of beating the Bears, whether because of home field (Pittsburgh) and vice versa. That’s every bit the case Sunday and the Washington Redskins.
What worked for the Bears in wins over the Steelers and New York Giants was that those teams continued to exhibit the problems that had them winless going into Bears games. Turnovers, primarily, although Brandon Jacobs nearly made up for those as it turned out.
But Washington’s 1-4 is prickly and not to be trusted.
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The Redskins put more than 400 yards on the Dallas Cowboys, in Dallas, and that took an abysmal performance by Washington special teams to give that game away.
Three of their four losses have come against teams ranked in the top 10 running the football, always concerning even though the Bears don’t consider themselves overly run-vulnerable, Jacobs and Reggie Bush results within the past three games notwithstanding. What’s also not to like about Washington is that the average yardage yield in the past two games was 256, a turnaround from earlier this season and a hint that some very good defensive players may be hitting a stride.
The Giants stuck to a run-first game plan and arguably would have beaten the Bears but for Eli Manning’s three interceptions in what turned out to be a six-point game.
“But in a lot of the games this year we have stopped the run,” linebacker Lance Briggs said. “It's one of the things that we have done decently.”
If the Bears indeed can prevent Alfred Morris from becoming the third back in four games to power for 100-plus yards, their chances rise exponentially.
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Tipping point: Jay Cutler
In the Bears’ favor, in spite of rookie Jon Bostic making his first NFL start at middle linebacker, is that Jay Cutler has gone from liability to asset. Cutler has thrown zero interceptions in three of the last four games, with the result that other than in Detroit – when Cutler threw his only interceptions (three) since Sept. 15 – the Bears will be close enough to win in the fourth quarter, where they are the only team in the NFL to allow no touchdowns in a fourth quarter.
Bears 27 Washington 24