Through three quarters the offense had 7 three-and-outs and only four first downs.
The lack of ball control hurt the defense, but there was no excuse for the Redskins to compile 218 yards rushing, including 171 by Clinton Portis on 36 carries.
"I definitely feel like I could have played better," said Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who returned after two games away due to a pulled hamstring.
For as poorly as the offense played, the Bears still had the ball in the closing minute with a chance to win the game or at least send it into overtime.
Trailing 13-10 with 1:28 on the clock and one timeout the Bears were 65 yards away from victory. However, the brief moment of optimism quickly faded when Quinn took consecutive sacks trying to find a receiver down field.
"I shouldn't have taken those sacks, obviously with no timeouts, those are sacks you can't give up and that's on me, throw it somewhere or throw it away," Quinn said.
A desperate effort on fourth down ended in an interception by Sean Taylor, sealing the Bears fate and dropped them to 1-4.
Lovie Smith didn't pull any punches after Quinn threw for 65 yards and the offense converted only 1 of 13 third down attempts.
"We all saw the same game today, it was a bad performance," Smith said. "Right now there were a lot of things we did not like about the game and quarterback was one of them."
With the lack of respect for the passing game, Thomas Jones couldn't get anything going in the first half. In fact, Quinn compiled more rushing yards (23 to 22) through two quarters.
Jones got on track in the third quarter, picking 60 yards on 10 carries, but the offense spent just one play in Washington territory through three quarters.
The one play turned out to be a third and two from the Washington 42 in which Quinn took a sack on a safety blitz by Taylor, which one was of four by the Redskins.
While the defense didn't have its best game, they were on the field for more than 20 minutes in the first half. Part of that goes on the unit for not stopping Washington.
"(The Redskins) were able to keep the ball for a long time in the first half and we have to get turnovers," Smith said.
Still, the defense only surrendered 13 points and came up with the team's only touchdown on the day.
Washington took a 3-0 lead, which they never relinquished, on a 41-yard field goal by Ola Kimrin.
On the opening play of the second quarter Washington extended the advantage to 10-0 when QB Mark Brunell, who completed 8-of-22 for 95 yards, found WR Rod Gardner wide open for a 19-yard touchdown reception.
The game was on the verge of turning into a route late in the first half. Already up 10-0, the Redskins were in Bears territory with a chance to put the game away. However, Alex Brown deflected a Brunell pass that Jerry Azumah caught and returned 70 yards for a touchdown.
"I just basically read the play and I was just trying to get to that area," Azumah said. "He threw the ball, it got tipped and landed in my hands. The rest was easy from there. The main objective once you get a pick is to take it the distance."
The swing in momentum kept the Bears in the game, but there was never a sense that they would win.
It stayed 10-7 early into the fourth quarter, when Kimrin converted on his second field goal attempt of the day.
The Bears countered with a 46-yard field goal by Paul Edinger on the ensuing possession. There might have been a chance for more points, but after having first down from the Washington 25, negative plays on second and third down forced the Bears to settle for three points.
The Redskins had a chance to seal the victory after Portis ran for nine yards on first down, brining the game to the two-minute warning. Ian Scott stuffed Portis for a one-yard loss on second down and then Brunell couldn't escape Hunter Hillenmeyer as he tried to roll out of the pocket on third down.
Following a Washington punt, the Bears took over with a timeout at their disposal and 88 seconds left on the clock. Realistically, they needed about 35 yards for a field goal attempt to send the game into overtime. The offense quickly moved into Washington territory on a 10-yard reception by David Terrell, which was his only reception of the game and stopped the clock by getting of bounds with 1:04 left in the game.
The next two plays illustrated how far Quinn has to come to be a reliable quarterback. Instead of getting rid of the ball when he couldn't find an open receiver, he took an unnecessary sack not once, but twice.
Quinn heard it from the crowd as he walked off the field.
"They have a reason to be unhappy just like the players do," Quinn said.
Several players on both sides of the ball were emotional after the game.
"The defense fought their hearts off and on offense we've just got to give them a little more help," Quinn added.
What the Bears will have to decide is whether or not there is a better option to lead the offense on the roster.