Redskins-Bears: News, notes and nuggets

Taking a closer look at Kirk Cousins, Jordan Reed, the pass rush, the NFC East race and more following Washington's first road win of the season.

Notes and thoughts following the Washington Redskins 24-21 win over the Chicago Bears in Week 14, the 598th all-time victory in franchise history.

Big picture

* The Redskins (6-7) won on the road. True story. The last time they pulled off that feat? Week 8 last season at Dallas. In between, nine straight losses.

* Washington enters Week 15's matchup with the Buffalo Bills (6-7) at FedEx Field tied atop the NFC East. For the moment it's the Redskins and Eagles (6-7) who dropped the Bills in the Shady McCoy Bowl. Eli Manning and the New York Giants can make it a three-way with a Monday Night win over the Miami Dolphins. The Redskins own the tiebreakers, meaning they would claim the division title if they win out.

* Buffalo is no slouch, but Washington has the easiest Week 15 matchup on paper. Philadelphia and New York are also at home, but against NFC West-leading Arizona and undefeated Carolina respectively.

The quarterback

Kirk Cousins finished 24 of 31 for 300 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The pick wasn't a good decision while another bad choice fortunately turned into a wild 18-yard, first down catch by Matt Jones. Those moments aside, Cousins delivered a solid if not strong performance at a location he hasn't played his best this season: The road. 

* Oh, Cousins also ran for a score.

Cousins has recorded a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown in a single game four times this season. Only Carolina's Cam Newton (6) has more this season. 

* We know about the "Captain Kirk" nickname. Nobody would choose the unflashy "Consistent Cousins," but in one statistical category, that's just what he's been.

The tight ends    

Jordan Reed led the Redskins with nine receptions for 120 yards with a touchdown. 

* Reed's first 100-yard game this season came against a Bears defense that entering Week 14 allowed the fourth fewest points to fantasy tight ends this season and only once allowed over 100 yards.

* Of course, Reed had some prior success against the Bears. In two carer games, Reed is 18-254-2 against Chicago. 

* Derek Carrier exited in the first half with a kne injury and did not return. That forced offensive tackle Tom Compton into his emergency tight end role. Normally a Compton appearance means here comes a run. In this game, Washington's second and third longest pass plays came with Compton on the field as an eligible receiver.


The running game

Alfred Morris started in the role of lead back, rushing six times for 13 yards including a 1-yard touchdown on the opening drive. From there, only five carries for another 11 yards. 

Matt Jones became the primary option as the game progressed. That's not completely surprising, but it was interesting and important that coach Jay Gruden kept the fumble-prone in the game with the Redskins nursing a fourth quarter lead in rainy conditions. No fumbles this time as Jones finished with 62 yards on 18 carries plus two catches for 24 yards.

* Overall the Redskins finished with 33 carries for 99 yards. Three yards per carry won't get the job done most weeks, but by sticking with the ground game, Washington had enough balance to get the job done.

* The Morris touchdown was his first on the season and came on his 149th carry.

The first quarter

* Talk about an effective, chain moving start. According to the Redskins', Washington’s 11 first-quarter first downs were the most by the team in an opening quarter in records available dating back to 1991. The Redskins gained seven first downs on the opening drive that took 8:50 off the clock.

The pass rush

 Nose tackle Terrance Knighton registered his first full sack as a member of the Redskins. He dropped Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for a seven-yard loss in the first quarter.

·  Second-year linebacker Trent Murphy didn't just record a sack, but registered a hat trick by forcing and recovering a fumble on the play in the second quarter. That's 3.5 sacks and second fumble recovery for the 2014 second round pick.

·  Ryan Kerrigan is known for pass rush prowess and he also got to Cutler for a sack on Chicago's opening drive of the second half, bumping up his total to 7.5 this season. 

The random

* Starting right tackle Morgan Moses was evaluated for a concussion.

* Running back Pierre Thomas joined the Redskins Friday and caught a 12-yard pass Sunday. Future playing time depends on the status of injured RB Chris Thompson and how much the coaching staff trusts Jones on passing downs. 

DeSean Jackson was kept out of the end zone for the first time in four games, finishing with a quiet two receptions for 43 yards. Both grabs came in the second half. After his first reception, Jackson came up limping and briefly left the game.

* The Bears finished with 87 yards on 22 carries, essentially 4.0 yards per attempt. That's the third straight game Washington's defense held the opponent under 100 yards on the ground after allowing at least 142 in six consecutive games. Safety DeAngelo Hall and inside linebacker Mason Foster unofficially led the Redskins with six tackles each.

* Speaking of the inside linebackers, the run game improvements essentially started when Will Compton took over for Keenan Robinson.

Washington's six straight wins over Chicago is its longest active streak against any opponent.

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