LANDOVER, Md. (AP) – Only days removed from burying a teammate, and without the benefit of a full practice, the Washington Redskins managed to win thanks to a backup quarterback who last completed a pass in 2004.
Todd Collins came on for the injured Jason Campbell and threw for two touchdowns Thursday night, leading Washington to a 24-16 victory over the fading Chicago Bears that ended the Redskins' four-game losing streak.
In a rough-and-tumble game befitting two teams that entered on the very fringe of the playoff chase in the so-so NFC, both lost their starting quarterbacks in the first half. Campbell left for good with a dislocated left kneecap a few plays after hurting his throwing elbow, while Rex Grossman never returned from a left knee injury on Chicago's second possession.
Grossman's replacement, Brian Griese, threw interceptions on consecutive passes in the second quarter, both picked off by Shawn Springs. The first set up Collins' 21-yard touchdown pass to another backup, tight end Todd Yoder, to help Washington (6-7) build a 14-0 lead.
Collins wound up 15-of-20 for 224 yards and his first two scores since 2002, when he played for Kansas City.
Griese was 21-of-45 for 295 yards and one TD, but he also raised his season interception total to 12 in seven appearances for the reigning NFC champion Bears (5-8).
Both teams had a short turnaround from their previous games Sunday, but the Redskins' preparation was even more limited. The entire organization traveled to Florida for Monday's funeral of safety Sean Taylor, who died after being shot last week.
Coincidentally, tickets for this game, printed months ago, featured a picture of Taylor.
RB Adrian Peterson
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Several players and coaches spoke about feeling a sense of closure after paying their respects and being able to focus on football.
One sign of moving forward: The makeshift memorial to Taylor, set up on a patch of grass outside the stadium where his number 21 was painted, is gone. Fans dropped off flowers, candles, teddy bears, homemade signs and other tokens before Sunday's game, but nothing remained in that spot Wednesday other than some piles of snow.
The temperature was 26 degrees at kickoff, and perhaps a combination of the cold and the lack of regular rest contributed to all of the injuries. It wasn't the case that someone was forced off the field after each play, but it sure seemed that way.
The list of ailments begins with the two starting QBs and included running back Clinton Portis (stomach illness), right guard Randy Thomas (elbow) and cornerback Fred Smoot (cramps) of Washington, and defensive tackle Antonio Garay (ankle) of Chicago.
Also, Redskins tight end Chris Cooley left two plays before Campbell did and limped off to the locker room at the same time his QB was driven there on a cart. Cooley, though, was able to return at the start of the second half, and Portis made it back on the field, too, although he wound up with only 36 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Neither team mustered much of a rushing attack, combining for 92 yards.
There were plenty of blunders on both sides, the sort that often make the difference between a win and a loss: turnovers, missed field-goal attempts, missed tackles, dropped passes and penalties. Lots of penalties, a combined 10 in the third quarter alone.
All of that plus much more in the January issue of ...
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