Home Field Disadvantage

Chicago - Despite the return of Brian Urlacher and Jerry Azumah the Bears dropped to 0-3 at Soldier Field, which is the first time they've lost three straight games at home to open the season since 2000.

That year the team didn't post a victory in front of their fans until the fifth game of the home schedule against the Indianapolis Colts. The team finished the campaign 5-11 and 3-5 at home.

Despite a 7-9 record last year, the Bears established the new Soldier Field as a definite advantage. After dropping the inaugural game against the Packers the Bears went 6-1 the rest of the way.

If Jonathan Quinn is being rattled at home just imagine what it will be like in front of a hostile crowd.

Welcome Back: Jerry Azumah was the Bears biggest offensive threat last year and in his '04 debut he proved to be in top form.

When the Bears were in danger of being blown out by the Redskins, Azumah grabbed a deflected pass from Mark Brunell and returned the pick 70 yards for a touchdown. His seventh career interception brought the Bears within 10-7.

"That is one of the bright spots," Lovie Smith said. "Jerry has been anxious to return and that is what you need. You need playmakers to make plays and it was a great read by Jerry and, of course, once he gets an opening he knows what to do with it."

Azumah spent time as the nickel back and also returned to kickoffs for an average of 20.5 yards per attempt.

Azumah might have gotten a little help from a friend. He borrowed the shoes Mike Brown wore in the victory against Green Bay in honor his teammate, who suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in the game.

Brown returned a fumble 95-yards against the Packers, that turned the game in the Bears favor. Azumah did his best impression of Brown, as he returned an interception for a touchdown for the first time in the regular season. Coupled with two kick returns for TDs, Azumah has three career scores. He also returned an interception of Donovan McNabb 39 yards for a touchdown in the playoff loss to the Eagles in 2002.

Close Call: Thomas Jones fell three yards short of hitting the century mark for the third time this year. He rushed for 97 yards on 24 carries with a long run of 18 yards. Despite being held to 22 yards in the first half Jones picked up 75 yards in the second half.

Jones was the focal point of the Washington defense, which came into the matchup second the NFL vs. the run.

"I think (the Redskins) wore down a little bit in the second half and we were able to execute," Jones said.

Injury Update: Adewale Ogunleye left the game in the third quarter with a right ankle sprain and did not return. Michael Haynes filled in for Ogunleye.

Inactives:3QB Chad Hutchinson, CB Charles Tillman, LB Corey Jenkins, G Rex Tucker, DT Alfonso Boone, G Ruben Brown, DE Alain Kashama and DE Shurron Pierson.


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