Ten Spot Review: Redskins 24, Bears 16

Here is a review of the ten spot and how we did at predicting for the Bears game.

1. We asked: What is the Redskins mental state?

We thought it was pretty good based on their body language Tuesday, the day after Sean Taylor's funeral. There was almost a peace about them and a realization that life must continue. They seemed relaxed and played that way. They were clearly ready to play, even if the offense struggled big time early on. But they played hard and played 60 minutes.

2. We asked: Can they possibly have anything left in the tank?

They clearly did, again based on how they played for 60 minutes this time. It helped that Chicago is just not very good right now. It should help them getting away for the weekend, leaving them refreshed for next week. That said, they still have major problems going forward, but some of that is lessened by Thursday's win.

3. We asked: What's the biggest concern entering this game?

Our main concern was injuries. Little did I know it would get worse during the game when Jason Campbell dislocated his left kneecap, leaving him likely out for the season. We'll find out today. Hasn't this team been through enough? Shawn Springs, though, played all four quarters and did a pretty good job, turning in a huge play with the second-quarter interception. Also, Stephon Heyer started at right tackle and held his own. He's not very good in the run game, but he did OK in protection. But give Todd Collins a ton of credit. He looked like he'd been running this offense for, well, years – which he has. But not in game situations. To be that good was fantastic. His decision-making was terrific and the ball usually arrived as the receiver turned around. The timing made up for any lack of zip.

4. We asked: How much can Randy Thomas help?

Apparently not much. We thought he would help simply with his athleticism. But he hurt his elbow and we have to believe it stemmed from the fact that he hadn't faced full contact since his Week 2 injury. At this point, it's uncertain when he'll return, but the Redskins would be wise to be cautious.

5. We asked: Where have the linebackers been?

The linebackers did a better job, London Fletcher in particular. Rocky McIntosh blew up a couple lead blocks and Marcus Washington had a sack. But for the most part this game was about the secondary, the corners in particular. The Redskins couldn't play a certain way if they didn't feel good about the matchups on the outside. The corners tackled very well and that helped. They were beaten a couple times, as will happen in man coverage, which they played most of the night.

6. We asked: Has Joe Gibbs lost it?

That certainly seemed to be the case in terms of clock management, etc. However, he hasn't lost it as a guy who knows how to lead. Look at what this team has been through and tell me anyone thought they'd be able to finish strong last night. Give the coaches credit for such a performance. But we also thought the red zone offense and turnovers were bigger problems than Gibbs' time outs. And yesterday the Redskins were better inside the 20. The difference in the game was the touchdown to Ladell Betts. In past games, that drive would have resulted in a field goal and crossed fingers on the ensuing opponents' drive. They had breathing room last night.

7. We asked: What are the key offensive matchups?

We thought it was Redskins tight end Chris Cooley against strong safety Brandon McGowan. He did not cover Cooley all the time, but Cooley certainly abused him when he did. Cooley had a fantastic night and continues to play at a high level. He's the best offensive player on the team. We also thought it would be Todd Wade against Adewale Ogunleye. But Wade was inactive leaving Heyer at that spot. Again, he made some mistakes, but appeared to do OK. His run blocking simply isn't all that good, not when he has to get backside. But he did just fine in protection. We also thought the Redskins would run at end Mark Anderson, which they did. But unlike other teams they had no success because the line did not hold blocks and the linebackers moved quickly to the ball.

8. We asked: What are the key defensive matchups?

Springs against Benard Berrian was a big one and both sides can claim success. Springs did a pretty good job for a guy with a bad back and who wasn't able to do anything this week. Berrian got behind him a couple times and made a nice touchdown catch. He looked pretty good. Springs had two interceptions, though neither came when he was covering Berrian. Also, we thought the Redskins should blitz Rex Grossman up the middle. The Redskins blitzed as much as they had all season and it worked against Grossman and his replacement Brian Griese. They wanted to move the quarterbacks off ‘'their spot'' and it worked.

9. We asked: Will the Redskins kick to Devin Hester?

We didn't think so and they really didn't. On kickoffs, they squibbed them and on punts, they kicked out of bounds. Derrick Frost had a good night, averaging 41.4 yards a punt and allowing Hester to only return one punt. That took away Chicago's game-changer and Hester was never really close to breaking one, a testament to the coverage units.

10. We asked: Will the Redskins win?

Well, I went back and forth and even predicted them to lose in the Examiner. Given another day to think, I changed my mind. That either makes me a campaigning politician or flexible. I'll accept the latter. But I wasn't sold on Chicago being good enough to win. That said, if I knew the injuries that would hit Washington last night, I would have picked against them. It says a lot that they could overcome all that they did and speaks to their character. Gibbs has his flaws as a talent evaluator, but he knows professionals and has a lot of them. I thought they would win 17-14.


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