Trailing 9-7 with the clock ticking under nine minutes, the Bears were nearly in field goal range for Doug Brien.
However, five consecutive negative plays pushed the team not only out of field goal range, but back into their half of the field.
It started with a three-yard loss on a carry by Thomas Jones. Cedric Benson had been used earlier on the drive with Jones coming on the field in passing situations. Benson picked up just 10 yards on three touches, but Jones had little success all day and it would have been nice to see what he could have done in crunch time.
Although the offensive line is a veteran group, on three successive plays they looked as if it was their first NFL action. Fred Miller, John Tait and Ruben Brown were called for false starts, turning a 2nd and 13 into 2nd and 28 back in Chicago territory.
The penalties were a common theme in the preseason and carried into the regular season with eight flags for 86 yards.
"It was definitely tough to hear,'' Miller said. "But that's no excuse. You think you hear something and you don't. What can you do? Go back and fight the next play, move on. It's pretty loud for an outdoor stadium, but we did well with it all game. And just that one drive really messed us up.''
With the line back on their heels, the Washington pass rush got to Orton for a sack. A 10-yard loss setup 3rd and 38.
Even with the chance of picking up a first down gone, there was still field position to be gained. However, Muhsin Muhammad dropped a pass from Orton that would have given Brad Maynard an opportunity to punt just inside of midfield.
Considering the Bears only needed a field goal to take the lead, forcing the Redskins to execute pinned against their goal line would have put added pressure on Washington.
A three and out by the Chicago defense would have given the ball back to the offense near midfield. Instead Washington took over at their 23 and ran four minutes off the clock thanks two first downs.
By the time Orton and the offense got the ball back, they needed to pick up at least 50 yard to get in field goal range with no timeouts and a 1:43 on the clock. It proved to be too much for the rookie quarterback, who fumbled on the second play of the possession.
The Bears will have to correct such mental lapses from veterans because mistakes by Orton can be justified, theirs cannot.