Bears-Redskins: Game Notes

Jason brings us additional notes from Soldier Field...

Grossman First – Downs and Ups: Bears rookie quarterback Rex Grossman was a  part of a busy first quarter on Sunday, throwing his first career interception off a deflection before tossing his first touchdown on a 59-yard bomb to wide receiver Marty Booker. The interception and touchdown came on consecutive offensive plays for Chicago as Booker got a hand on a Grossman pass a the Bears nine yard line with 10:33 to play in the first quarter that deflected the ball to Washington cornerback Fred Smoot, leading to a Redskin field goal. Following a 21-yard return by 2003 Pro Bowler Jerry Azumah, aided by a 15-yard face mask penalty against Washington, Booker and Grossman atoned for the earlier turnover by connecting on the Bears' second-longest pass play of the season as Booker out-ran four-time Pro Bowler Champ Bailey along the east sideline his third touchdown of over 45  yards this year. Grossman finished the first quarter 4-of-8 passing for 113 yards with the one TD and one INT. Grossman's first six pass completions of the game went to six different receivers and he finished the day with 249 yards passing, completing 18-of-32 passes for two TDs and one INT. Grossman is the first Bears rookie quarterback since 1965 to win the first two starts of his career.

Let's Get Bookin: In addition to taking over the team lead with his fourth touchdown reception of the season, Marty Booker achieved two other milestones with that scoring reception. The catch gave Booker at least one reception in each of the last 57 games in which he has played, tying the Bears all-time record set by Booker's former teammate Booby Engram from Oct. 6, 1996 to Sept. 17, 2000. A 2002 Pro Bowler, Booker began his streak the week after Engram's ended, catching five passes for 56 yards vs. Detroit on Sept. 24, 2000 after being inactive the week before. Booker's reception streak will become the longest in team history with one catch in the season finale next week at Kansas City. The 59 yards compiled by Booker on the reception also pushed him into sole possession of eighth place on the Bears all-time receiving yardage list, passing Dick Gordon who totaled 3,550 yards on 238 catches from 1965-71. Booker finished the afternoon with four catches for 80 yards, giving him 3,592 receiving yards for his career.

Century Series: Anthony Thomas led the Bears with a season-high 141 rushing yards against the Redskins, the fourth 100-yard game for Thomas this season and his first since a 111-yard effort on Nov. 2 vs. San Diego. Chicago now holds a 7-2 all-time mark when Thomas rushes for 100 yards. Including the 134-yard outing by rookie RB Brock Forsey vs. Arizona on Nov. 30, the Bears have had five 100-yard rushers this season. His 141-yard performance was his best since rushing for 160 yards in 2001 season finale vs. Jacksonville (1/6/02 and the fourth-highest of his career. With 32 carries, Thomas received the second-most carries in a game of his career and fourth career game with at least 30 carries. Michigan's all-time record holder with 22 games of at least 100 rushing yards in college, now has done so on nine occasions as a member of the Bears.

On Cloud Nine: The season-high 141 rushing yards by Anthony Thomas on Sunday moved the third-year back past Hall of Famer Bronko Nagurski for sole possession of ninth place on the Bears all-time rushing list with 2,867 career rushing yards on 720 carries (4.0 ypc). Now just 37 yards from recording his second career 1,000-yard campaign with 963 yards on 228 carries (4.2 ypc) with six touchdowns this season, Thomas passed Nagurski's 2,778 from 1930-37, 43 against the Redskins.

Third and Wade: of the 10 receptions (132 yards and 13.2 ypc) and three rushing attempts that Bobby Wade has totaled this season, seven of those touches have come on third down and resulted in a first down (another was a 10-yard reception on third-and-11). On Sunday against the Redskins, Wade had a six-yard catch on a third-and-5 play while also adding a 10-yard reception on a first-and-10 play. Also included in those numbers is an 11-yard reception (on his first career catch) on a third-and-7 play at Seattle in Week 7 and a four-yard run (on his first career carry) on a third-and-3 play at Denver in Week 12.

Long Distance Driving: With an 81-yard touchdown drive to score a ho-ahead touchdown near the end of the third quarter, the Bears traveled at least 75 yards to score a touchdown for the fourth consecutive game. The 12-play drive spanning 6:41 of the third quarter covered 81 yards (five on penalty) resulted in Anthony Thomas' three-yard scoring run that gave Chicago a 24-17 lead. Rex Grossman led the Bears to a season-high seven first downs on the drive, the second consecutive game in which Grossman led a drive of 75 or more yards. Last week vs. Minnesota the Bears went 75 yards on 10 plays spanning 4:49. At Green Bay on Dec. 7, Chicago scored its first TD of the game on a four-play, 88-yard drive. The previous week vs. Arizona (11/30), the Bears took a 7-0 lead on a game-opening six-play, 96-yard touchdown drive.

Quarter Pounder: the 32-yard punt return by R.W. McQuarters in the second quarter against Washington was the fourth of at least 30 yards by him this season. Posting a 14.0-yard gross average of four returns on Sunday, McQuarters' season average jumped to 12.9 per return on the season (35 returns). McQuarters' average is the highest for a Bears punt returner since the 14.9 average by Gale Sayers in 1965, the second-highest since-season total in franchise history.

Merritting Attention: in being one of four Bears receiver with a catch of at least 20 yards against Washington, wide receiver Ahmad Merritt caught his first pass since Nov. 2 when he had a three-yard reception against San Diego. His 25-yard reception in the first quarter on Sunday was a season-long reception and tied his career-long form last season. Merritt has three catches for 50 yards on the season and is one of six Chicago receivers with multiple catches of 20 or more yards this year.

Extra Points: Washington QB Tim Hasselbeck began the game 0-for-6 passing, but completed 16 of his last 19 to finish the day with 209 yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-25 passing.

Inactives
Chicago
QB Chris Chandler, P Brooks Barnard, S Mike Green, TE Gabe Reid, G Corbin Lacina, T Mike Gandy, DT Tron LaFavor and DT Keith Traylor.

Washington
LB Clifton Smith, RB Sultan McCullough, RB Trung Canidate, S David Terrell, RB Ladell Betts, T Brandon Winey, TE Byron Chamberlain and WR Taylor Jacobs.

Line-up Changes
Bears
Defense: Alfonso Boone starting at LDT for Keith Traylor.
Offense: Qasim Mitchell starting at LT for Mike Gandy.

Redskins
Offense: Chris Samuels starting at LT for Brandon Winey
Rick Cartwright starting at RB for Trung Canidate

Injury Report: The following Bears players left today's game due to injury: Ian Scott (foot sprain), Justin Gage (knee sprain), Qasim Mitchell (fibula fracture) and John Gilmore (concussion). All injuries will be further evaluated tomorrow.


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