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Thursday Football

Thursday Football

After rough week, Redskins ready to focus on football, Bears
December 5, 2007

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -After as tough and trying a week as could be, the Washington Redskins finally felt ready to focus on football.

``I kind of sensed a deep breath was taken, a sigh was taken,'' assistant coach Gregg Williams said. ``And now: Let's move on.''

Even with a less-than-ideal amount of time to prepare for the next game, Thursday night against the visiting Chicago Bears, Redskins coach Joe Gibbs opted not to have a full practice Tuesday and instead put players through an extended walkthrough.

As limited as the work might have been, something seemed different.

``It was normal today,'' defensive lineman Phillip Daniels said, ``for the first time in a while.''

From the moment they first heard the horrific news that Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor had been shot at his home, to the moment they heard that he had died, all the way through to Monday's funeral in Florida, the Redskins thought about their friend and teammate.

They were sad.

They were reflective.

And the collective mood only began to brighten after everyone got the chance to formally pay their respects.

``Until that day happened, you never really got the closure,'' Daniels said. ``Last week, we went into the game with a lot of emotions, a lot of heavy hearts. Hard to get ready for that game.''

As Daniels spoke at the Redskins' practice facility, he sat on a stool a few feet away from Taylor's locker, which has been sealed off with Plexiglas.

A framed photo of Taylor and his 1-year-old daughter, Jackie, sits alongside football pads on the top shelf. Other contents are neatly arranged: sweats, practice jersey, helmet, mouth guard, burgundy cleats, a game ball from Oct. 1, 2006, notebooks, a pencil.

``Now I think guys are a little more focused on the Bears. Last week, the talk was about Sean and what we can do for him,'' Daniels continued. ``But this week, it's more about the Bears. We know Sean is always going to be on the field with us.''

Despite the unusual circumstances, the Redskins did not petition the NFL to postpone the game.

``I don't think it has been an option from Day 1,'' Gibbs said. ``There's a precedent set where you just don't do it. So I really didn't consider that anything like that was going to happen. I don't think any of us did.''

Neither the Redskins nor the Bears have the benefit of as many days to prepare as they would like, particularly given that both are 5-7 and barely hanging on at the very edge of the race for a wild-card berth in the mediocre NFC.

Chicago's players are well aware, of course, of what the Redskins have been dealing with away from the field of play.

``They've been through a lot more than us,'' Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman said. ``Going through what they've gone through, I have no reason to complain at all.''

The Bears, last season's NFC champions, have been alternating wins and losses over the past nine games.

Still, Chicago coach Lovie Smith sees no reason why a victory at Washington can't point his team back toward a postseason push.

``No one has told us that we're out of anything,'' Smith said, ``so we have to just keep playing, and that's what we'll do.''

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Re: Thursday Football

Redskins Try to Get Back on Track

After Emotional Week, Tough Loss, Washington Looks Ahead

As they continued to work through their grief over the death of safety Sean Taylor, the Washington Redskins went back to the business of football yesterday, practicing in preparation for tomorrow night's game against the Chicago Bears and hoping to end a four-game losing streak that has brought renewed criticism of Coach Joe Gibbs's game management.

Gibbs is under scrutiny after acknowledging he didn't know the Redskins would be penalized for calling consecutive timeouts in an attempt to "freeze" a kicker, and his ignorance of the rule put the Buffalo Bills in position to kick a game-winning 36-yard field goal in Sunday's 17-16 loss.

"Just like the players, you hold them accountable, you hold yourself accountable, too," Gibbs said after practice yesterday. "I said to them what I needed to say. I felt strongly about that right after the game and I still do. What's important for me to do is address that and say, 'Hey, if I mess up, then I need to say it.' I'm continually going to them and saying, 'Hold yourself accountable.' . . . Hopefully, I'll be able to live through this one."

Although they lost Sunday for the fifth time this season -- and 15th time since 2004 -- in a game in which they led at halftime, the Redskins (5-7) are only one game back in the wild-card chase, in a crowded pack that also includes the Bears (5-7).

In Gibbs's second stint as coach, the Redskins lead the league in squandering halftime leads, with Sunday's game the latest example. With eight seconds remaining and the Redskins leading, 16-14, Buffalo's Rian Lindell lined up to attempt a 51-yard kick. Gibbs called the team's second timeout just before Lindell sent the ball through the uprights in the rain, and then Gibbs sought help from an official, trying to determine whether he could use the Redskins' final timeout before the Bills attempted another kick.

In the back and forth during those final, frantic seconds, Gibbs said he thought the official said "yes" but wasn't sure. Regardless, the decision to call consecutive timeouts in that situation led to a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty and Lindell made the shorter field goal. Gibbs acknowledged Sunday he should have known the rules.

The NFL agreed.

In an e-mail response to a reporter's question about whether officials are obligated to assist coaches who seek help as Gibbs did, Greg Aiello, the NFL's vice president of public relations, wrote, "There is no such obligation."

The criticism of Gibbs comes as the team is struggling off the field as well. Some players acknowledged they're still dealing with the loss of Taylor, who died Nov. 27 after being shot the previous morning in his Miami home.

"It's not something that you can just forget about. He was our teammate," linebacker Marcus Washington said. "Only time is going to heal it. With everything that's happened . . . it's tough."

A win tomorrow would help matters. Sunday's loss, the team's fourth in a row, means that, since a 2-0 start, the Redskins are 3-7. They also had a four-game losing streak in the games after Gibbs returned to coaching in 2004. With a loss to the Bears, Washington would match its longest skid under Gibbs, who lost his first five games during his debut in 1981. That team finished 8-8.

The decision to call consecutive timeouts against the Bills was among the worst decisions of his career, Gibbs said, and he accepted criticism as being "part of it. All the great things about coaching in the NFL, you also realize there's that side of it. It's part of what you do. You've got to realize that's part of it."

Lindell is the league's most accurate kicker, having converted 91 percent (20 of 22) of his field goal attempts. He kicked five field goals against Washington and had just made a 51-yarder that didn't count because of the timeout. Although Gibbs's mistake put Lindell in position to make a shorter kick, Lindell may have made a field goal from 60 yards with the way he has kicked this season, players said.

"He had just made one" from 51 yards, defensive lineman Cornelius Griffin said. "It's not just on Coach Gibbs. No way is it just on him."

Said left guard Pete Kendall: "I know that it's easy to blame the guy who strikes out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. . . . But there were was a lot of football played before that."

In their 19-13 loss Nov. 25 at Tampa Bay, the Redskins still were in the game in the second half after losing four fumbles in their first 16 plays from scrimmage. They scored a touchdown on the opening possession after halftime and were in position to kick a field goal on their next drive, but on fourth and one at Tampa Bay 4, with the Redskins still needing to score twice to take the lead, Gibbs decided to go for the first down. Running back Clinton Portis was stopped for no gain.

Shaun Suisham made a 38-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, which would have put the Redskins within three of tying the score had they been successful on a short field goal attempt on the drive that ended with Gibbs's gamble. Instead, needing to score a touchdown, the Redskins passed often down the stretch and quarterback Jason Campbell was intercepted on the final two drives.

"We all make mistakes, but when we lose a game, we all lose a game together," Campbell said. "When it comes down to it, you can look at all the close games [the Redskins have lost], it's not about one play. If we had done things earlier in those games that we were supposed to have done, it wouldn't came down to that.

"Coach has a lot of pride. He's been a Super Bowl coach and he's been on top. For the situations that we've been through . . . we all could be criticized a lot. But you do feel for him because this is probably the first time in a long time that people have been criticizing him the way that they have."

Gibbs's passion for his work hasn't wavered this season, he said.

"What I'm focused on is everything here," Gibbs said. "We've had [five] real bitter, tough losses at the end of games, and it's hard to go through that. What we're all focused on is some way for us to find a way to make a play and find a way to win a game. And in my case, make a good decision."

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Re: Thursday Football

Three key mismatches in Bears-Redskins game

Redskins running back Clinton Portis vs. Bears’ rush defense

Clinton Portis has faced the Bears’ defense three times in his career and has decimated it on each occasion. The way Chicago is playing this season, the destruction looks set to continue.

Portis ran for 165 yards on 14 carries against the Bears in 2003, 171 yards on 36 carries in 2004 and 121 yards on 21 attempts in 2005. He is the eighth-ranked running back in the league with 920 rushing yards and has seven touchdowns. Portis averages 6.4 yards per carry against the Bears.

Chicago’s defense is giving up 130.8 yards per game on the ground, including an NFC-worst 4.4 yards per rush. It surrendered a career-best 154 yards to Giants backup Derrick Ward last week. Opposing teams have run for 100 yards or more against the Bears in eight straight games.

Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye vs. Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell

Adewale Ogunleye is enjoying one of the best stretches of his career and is arguably the Bears’ best pass rusher this season. The defensive end is likely to trouble error-prone Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell this week.

Ogunleye ranks ninth in the league with nine sacks, and has six in his last five games. That includes a season-high three sacks on Oakland QB Josh McCown. Ogunleye has also forced fumbles in four straight contests.

Campbell, meanwhile, has struggled to protect the ball while receiving poor pass protection. He has thrown 11 interceptions in 12 games, and has been sacked 16 times this season.

Redskins’ DE Andre Carter and LB London Fletcher vs. Bears’ turnovers lost

Two struggling quarterbacks and an unreliable receiving corps make the Bears one of the worst turnover teams in the NFL.

Chicago has alternated between QBs Brian Griese and Rex Grossman this season and neither has impressed. Grossman has thrown seven INTs in seven starts, while Griese has 10 in six.

But they are only partially responsible for their team’s awful turnover record (28 giveaways in 11 games, which drops them into a tie for third-worst in the NFL). Eight Chicago players have had a combined 11 fumbles recovered by opposing teams.

A Redskins defense that includes defensive end Andre Carter and linebacker London Fletcher should capitalize on those weaknesses. Carter has 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles this season, while Fletcher leads the team with three interceptions for a total of 36 yards and a TD.

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Re: Thursday Football

What bettors need to know: Bears at Redskins

Clinging to hope

Bears head coach Lovie Smith is focused on making the playoffs despite his team’s tough loss to the Giants on Sunday. The defeat dropped Chicago’s record to 5-7. The Bears will now need to win their final four games to have any hope at the postseason.

Only three teams since 1990 have recovered from a 5-7 start to make the postseason, according to a report in today’s Chicago Tribune.

"As far as talking about the playoffs and things like that, we've done that," Smith told the Tribune. "We felt like we had to win out to guarantee ourselves a spot in the playoffs. Now we need a little bit of help from teams. But all we can do is try to win and then see what happens."

The NFC playoff picture gives rise to that optimism. Three 6-6 teams and five 5-7 teams are fighting for the last wild-card berth. Most of those teams have to play at least one of their wild-card competitors before the end of the season.

A win on Thursday night is essential to the Bears’ hopes, and current form suggests that they could achieve that. Chicago has recorded a victory after every loss this season, and has a better record on the road (3-3) than it does at home (2-4).

"They haven't told us we're out of the playoffs," safety Danieal Manning when asked how the coaches are approaching the issue. "The playoffs haven't started yet. So we just have to keep playing."

Washington is a 3-point home favorite for Thursday’s contest.

Emotional week for Washington

Despite a valiant effort against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, the Redskins failed to honor the memory of their murdered teammate Sean Taylor with a win on Sunday.

Washington was up 16-5 in the third quarter, but quarterback Jason Campbell threw a pick that sparked a Bills comeback. Buffalo went on to win the game with a last-minute field goal.

"It was a real tough day for us," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs told The Associated Press after the 17-16 loss. "Long, hard week. To be truthful, everybody was kind of drained. It was hard to get the emotion up to play."

The ordeal didn’t end there for the Redskins. They boarded a plane on Monday for Taylor’s funeral, before returning home to resume practice on Tuesday. That left the them with only two days to prepare for the visit of Chicago.

"It will be a real challenge for us to see if we can bounce back and play a game against a real good football team on a short week," Gibbs added.

Taylor, 24, was shot and killed last week. Four people have been charged in the incident.

Hester-y in the making?

Washington’s special teams will face the same dilemma this week that every other Chicago opponent has faced this season – whether or not to kick to Devin Hester. The second-year pro has emerged as the best kick returner in the league and always has a big impact.

If a team kicks to him he is likely to rip you to shreds on the return. If a team decides to angle it away from him Chicago will enjoy excellent field position throughout the game.

"It's amazing. I've never seen anything like it from that position," New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan told The Canadian Press after Sunday’s game against Chicago.

"He's such a game-changer, and he's not a starter on defense or offence. We've seen some dangerous guys in the past, but there's no one – no one – who does what he does and makes it look so effortless.”

Hester has returned three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns this season, lifting his career total to 10 TD returns. The Broncos decided it would be a good idea to kick to Hester in their Nov. 25 game at Chicago, and he burned them for two TDs.

"It's a combination of everything that he has: the vision, the strength and then the first-step quickness and the top-end speed," Bears special teams coach Dave Toub said. "He'll start a return and then he has another gear. People think they have an angle on him and then they don't. They try to and then he's gone."

The 25-year-old is just three shy of the NFL record of 13 touchdown returns, set by Brian Mitchell. Mitchell set the record in 223 games and 1,070 total returns. Hester has only played 27 regular season games and has 131 total returns.

Head to head

The Redskins have won two straight games against Chicago and are 6-2 against the spread in the last eight meetings between these teams. The road team is 4-0 ATS in the last four contests.

The past two games between Washington and Chicago played under the total.

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Game Preview for Bears vs Redskins

(Sports Network) - A pair of teams looking to maintain a role in the NFC Wild Card race will do battle at FedEx Field on Thursday night, as the Washington Redskins play host to the Chicago Bears to kick off the Week 14 schedule.

Both the Redskins and Bears enter Thursday night at 5-7, just one game out of the final playoff spot in the conference along with fellow 5-7 hopefuls Carolina, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. The Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, and Minnesota Vikings stand at 6-6 heading into Week 14, and Arizona currently holds the tie-breaking edge for the final Wild Card position.

Washington has followed up a 4-2 start by losing five of its last six games, including a 17-16 home setback to Buffalo this past Sunday. That contest was played just five days after the death of Redskins Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor, who was murdered in his suburban Miami home in an apparent robbery attempt on Nov. 26.

The entire Washington team attended Taylor's funeral on Monday.

Chicago has not experienced nearly the same level of trauma off the field, but can relate to the Redskins' inconsistency between the lines.

Roughly 10 months since they represented the NFC in Super Bowl XLI, the Bears have been among the league's biggest disappointments in 2007, with last Sunday's 21-16 loss to the New York Giants proving emblematic of that wayward campaign. Lovie Smith's club, which surrendered a 16-7 fourth quarter lead in the defeat, came up short in attempt to win back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Chicago is attempting to avoid becoming the sixth Super Bowl runner-up in the past seven seasons to miss the playoffs the year following their trip to the game's ultimate stage.


The Bears lead the all-time regular season series with Washington, which dates back to 1932, by a 20-17-1 count. The Redskins were 9-7 home winners when the teams last met, in Week 1 of the 2005 season, and also took a 13-10 decision when they last visited Soldier Field in 2004. The Bears last defeated the Redskins in 2003, and last won in the nation's capital in 2001.

The clubs have a storied history against one another in the postseason, with Washington holding a 4-3 playoff edge. The teams met for the NFL Championship four times between 1937 and 1943, with each claiming two crowns. The Bears' 73-0 win in D.C. following the 1940 season has taken on legendary status in NFL annals. Chicago also won a 1984 NFC Divisional Playoff on the road, while Washington came into Soldier Field in 1986 and 1987 and won Divisional Playoff contests.

Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs is 8-3 all-time against the Bears, including a 2-1 record in the aforementioned playoff games. The Bears' Smith is 0-2 against both Washington and Gibbs as a head coach.


The Chicago attack went through a transition in last week's loss to the Giants, as running back Adrian Peterson (256 rushing yards, 2 TD, 40 receptions) took over full-time for the injured Cedric Benson, who will miss the rest of the year with a foot injury. Peterson, a longtime special teams stalwart, carried 22 times for 67 yards, also notching game-highs with seven receptions for 82 yards out of the backfield. Peterson's 149 scrimmage yards were the second-most of his career. Quarterback Rex Grossman (1397 passing yards, 4 TD, 7 INT) threw for a season-high 296 yards in the loss, though he was also sacked a bloated six times in the defeat. The Chicago line has now allowed 38 sacks on the year, fifth-most in the league. Tight end Desmond Clark (38 receptions, 3 TD) posted five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown against the Giants. Wideout Bernard Berrian (57 receptions, 3 TD) continues to lead the Bears in receptions and receiving yards (792). The Bears are 14th in NFL passing offense (217.2 yards per game), 31st in rushing offense (83.8 yards per game), and last in yards per carry (3.2).

The Redskins have lost their last two games despite giving up just one touchdown over a span of eight quarters, that coming in the first quarter of the team's 19-13 loss at Tampa Bay in Week 12. Still, not all has been perfect for a Washington team that has struggled in the secondary in the absence of Taylor (who was out due to injury prior to his untimely death), and a back injury that has hampered top cornerback Shawn Springs (47 tackles). Springs is listed as questionable for Sunday. A Redskins pass rush led by end Andre Carter (41 tackles, 8 sacks) has 26 sacks on the year, but did not sack Buffalo rookie Trent Edwards at all last week. Washington is 10th in the NFL against the rush as Week 14 begins, with linebackers London Fletcher (100 tackles, 3 INT) and Rocky McIntosh (81 tackles, 3 sacks) ranking as the team's most capable tacklers. Fletcher is the only active member of the Redskins who has an interception this year.


The Redskins enter Thursday's game ranked 15th in NFL passing offense (209.1 yards per game) and ninth in the league in rushing offense (120.9 yards per game), though the passing game led by quarterback Jason Campbell (2600 passing yards, 12 TD, 11 INT) has begun to pick up steam in recent weeks. Campbell followed up back-to-back 300-yard passing days with a 216-yard performance in last Sunday's loss to Buffalo. Tight end Chris Cooley (53 receptions, 7 TD) contributed seven catches for 89 yards to the proceedings, while wideout Santana Moss (43 receptions, 1 TD) logged five catches for 63 yards in the game. Cooley took over the team lead in receiving yards (584) from Antwaan Randle El (39 receptions), who missed the tilt with a hamstring injury and is considered questionable for this week. Running back Clinton Portis (920 rushing yards, 7 TD, 32 receptions) was held to 50 yards on 25 carries last Sunday, though he did score the team's only touchdown on a three-yard run in the third quarter. Portis needs 80 yards on the ground to cross 1,000 for the fifth time in his six-year NFL career.

The most confounding element of the Bears' disappointing season has been the work of a once-strong defense that currently ranks 25th in NFL passing defense (225.1 yards per game) and 27th against the run (130.8 yards per game). It was the latter that helped do Chicago in against the Giants last week, as three New York running backs combined for 181 yards on 35 carries in the contest. Linebackers Brian Urlacher (96 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 INT) and Lance Briggs (83 tackles, 2 sacks), who combined for 24 tackles last Sunday, have played reasonably well, but the front four and secondary have both experienced tackling problems. The strength of the Bears defense has been a pass rush that has generated 34 sacks, including a team-best nine from end Adewale Ogunleye (46 tackles) and seven from tackle Tommie Harris (29 tackles). Ogunleye forced a pair of fumbles and had a recovery against the Giants. Chicago has intercepted just nine passes on the year, tied for third-worst in the league.


The only sure-fire starter in this game is Redskins tight end Cooley, who has been among the most reliable tight ends in the league. The weakness of the Chicago defense should make those on the fence about starting other Skins such as Campbell, Portis, or Moss less hesitant about placing them in the lineup. Washington kicker Suisham is a decent play, but a Redskins defense that makes few plays is not. On the Chicago side there are few reliable options, though the number of touches Peterson received last week makes him a worthy start. Grossman, Berrian, and Clark will also get you some points.


It is difficult to know what type of impact Taylor's death had on the Redskins' loss to Buffalo last week, though it is indisputable that Gibbs' team did not play its best game. Even amid the turmoil, this is still a team with a great deal of pride, and it is hard to imagine a Gibbs-coached team simply retreating into a shell and conceding the rest of its season. For that reason, look for renewed enthusiasm from Washington, which has more talent than Chicago and has the benefit of homefield advantage.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Redskins 24, Bears 12

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Chicago (5-7, 4-8 ATS) at Washington (5-7, 3-7-2 ATS)

The Bears and the Redskins look to bounce back from tough losses and rejoin the NFC playoff picture when they get together at FedEx Field for a Thursday night battle.

Chicago saw a 16-7 fourth-quarter lead turn into a 21-16 home loss to the New York Giants on Sunday as a one-point underdog, continuing a trend that has seen the Bears alternate SU and ATS wins and losses in their last nine games. QB Rex Grossman, for a change, avoided any turnovers in going 25 of 46 for 296 yards and a TD, but he couldn’t engineer a late scoring drive. The Bears also gave up 154 rushing yards to Giants RB Derrick Ward.

Playing under the cloud of safety Sean Taylor’s shooting death, Washington was dealt a 17-16 home loss to Buffalo as a six-point favorite, dropping its fourth straight game, this one on a last-second field goal made easier by coach Joe Gibbs’ mental error. With the Bills’ Rian Lindell lining up for a 51-yard attempt in the final seconds, Gibbs called consecutive timeouts, the second of which drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and Lindell then booted the 36-yard game-winner.

Chicago has followed its last four losses this season with SU and ATS victories, and Lovie Smith’s team is 5-2-1 ATS in its last eight non-divisional road games. However, the Bears are on ATS slides of 5-13 overall, 3-10 against the NFC and 2-6 when playing outside the NFC North this year.

Not only have the Redskins lost four in a row, but they’re on a 1-6 ATS slide, including 0-3 ATS at home. Moreover, Washington is stuck in ATS slumps of 1-6-2 at FedEx Field, 2-7-1 as a home favorite, 1-5-2 against non-division foes and 1-9-1 against teams with a losing record.

The straight-up winner is 11-1 ATS in Chicago’s games this season, including 10-0 ATS in the last 10.

These teams have met four times since 2001 and the visitor has covered the spread in all four, including in 2005, when the Bears lost 9-7 in Washington as a 5½-point underdog.

The under is 13-6-3 in Washington’s last 22 games against the NFC, 4-2 for the Bears overall and 21-5-1 when Chicago is as an underdog of three points or less.


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Thursday NFL Gameday

Week 14 in the NFL begins with another Thursday night contest as the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins square off in a must-win game for both teams.

The Bears and Redskins are both on the cusp of being eliminated from playoff contention with matching 5-7 records. It’s highly unlikely that an 8-8 record will be good enough to snag a Wild Card berth this season, so one of these teams will have to run the table the rest of the way to even have a shot at the postseason.

Chicago is coming off a 21-16 loss to the Giants as a 1-point underdog. The Bears took a 13-7 lead into the half in that game, but couldn’t hold on and are still looking for their first back-to-back wins of the season. Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman completed 26-of-46 passes for 296 yards with a touchdown, while being sacked six times in the loss. Adrian Peterson got the start at running back in place of the injured Cedric Benson and rushed for 67 yards on 22 carries. Peterson also led the Bears with seven receptions for 82 yards, while Desmond Clark caught five passes for 76 yards with a touchdown.

The Redskins suffered a heartbreaking 17-16 loss to Buffalo as a 6.5-point favorite last week. The loss was Washington’s fourth in a row and spoiled their tribute to fallen teammate Sean Taylor. Washington head coach Joe Gibbs made the win an easier possibility for Buffalo with a blunder in the fourth quarter. With the Bills ready to attempt a game-winning 51-yard field goal with only seconds remaining, Gibbs called a timeout to try and ice Buffalo kicker Rian Lindell. Gibbs then called a second timeout but consecutive timeouts are not allowed and Washington was assessed a 15-yard penalty. This gave Lindell a much easier 36-yard field goal which he easily knocked through the uprights.

Besides Gibbs’ mistake, the Redskins had trouble moving the ball on offense as quarterback Jason Campbell completed 21-of-37 passes for 216 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Clinton Portis was held to 50 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, while Chris Cooley led Washington with seven receptions for 89 yards. Washington played without wideout Antwaan Randle El, who was out with a hamstring injury. Both Randle El and cornerback Shawn Springs (back) are listed as questionable for Thursday’s game.


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Redskins struggle with losses on and off field

- Another winnable game and another loss for the Washington Redskins on a day they mourned the loss of safety Sean Taylor. The ?Skins take a 5-7 mark into their game at home against 5-7 Chicago, who also came off a bad loss and now both teams have a monumental challenge in securing a playoff spot.

The Bears lost to the Giants 21-16 as a 1-point underdog in Week 13. The combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under total (40).

Rex Grossman completed 25-of-46 passes for 296 yards with a touchdown for Chicago, while Desmond Clark caught five passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.

The Redskins lost to Buffalo 17-16 as a 6.5-point favorite in Week 13. The combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under total (37).

Jason Campbell completed 21-of-37 passes for 216 yards with an interception for Washington, while Clinton Portis rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.

Current streak:
Washington has lost 4 straight games.

Team records:
Chicago: 5-7 SU, 4-8 ATS
Washington: 5-7 SU, 3-7-2 ATS

Chicago most recently:
When playing in December are 7-3
When playing on grass are 5-5
After being outgained are 5-5
When playing outside the division are 5-5

Washington most recently:
When playing in December are 5-5
When playing on grass are 4-6
After being outgained are 3-7
When playing outside the division are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Chicago is 10-4 SU in its last 14 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Chicago's last 9 games when playing Washington
Chicago is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 games when playing Washington
Chicago is 2-8 SU in its last 10 games when playing Washington
Washington is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Chicago
Washington is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games when playing Chicago
Washington is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games when playing Chicago
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Washington's last 7 games

Next up:
Chicago at Minnesota, Monday, December 17
Washington at NY Giants, Sunday, December 16

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Chicago at Washington

Despite disappointing seasons to date, the reality is that Chicago and Washington are both only one game out of a wild-card spot in the bunched-up NFC. Therefore, the stakes will be high when these 5-7 teams collide in the nation’s capital Thursday night.

Most sports books are listing the Redskins as three-point favorites with a total of 37. Gamblers can back the Bears to win outright for a plus 140 return (risk $100 to win $140).

As if the death of a teammate wasn’t enough to distract Washington, there’s also Sunday’s gut-wrenching defeat, a short week of preparation and the fact that the entire organization attended Sean Taylor’s funeral in Miami on Monday. Needless to say, Joe Gibbs has his work cut out for him in getting his team ready to play.
Just five days after the death of Taylor, the All-Pro safety who was murdered at his South Florida home, the Redskins played host to Buffalo in hopes of honoring the memory of their fallen teammate. They lost a 17-16 decision to the Bills as 6 ½-point home favorites.

The ‘Skins held a 16-5 lead late in the third quarter, but the Bills got a field goal and a touchdown to pull within 16-14. With less than a minute left in the final stanza, Buffalo QB Trent Edwards moved his team into field-goal range to give Rian Lindell the chance to boot a 51-yard game winner as time expired.

Before Lindell’s attempt, however, Gibbs decided to ice the kicker with a timeout – twice. But back-to-back timeouts aren’t allowed in the NFL, resulting in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. The rest is history, as Lindell was true from 36 yards out.

It was painful to watch Gibbs commit such a blunder. To his credit, he took full responsibility for the mistake, but the gaffe was almost fitting for Gibbs’ second tour of duty in the NFL, one that’s paled in comparison to his Hall of Fame tenure during the 1980s.

Chicago (5-7 straight up, 4-8 against the spread) is off an extremely tough loss as well. The Bears took an early lead against the Giants and led most of the way, but Eli Manning rallied his team to a 21-16 victory as a 1 ½-point favorite.

Trailing 16-7 midway through the final stanza, the G-Men capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive when Manning found Amani Toomer for a six-yard scoring strike. Several minutes later, Rueben Droughns found paydirt on a two-yard run to give New York its first lead.

With starting RB Cedric Benson out for the season, Chicago tried to air it out for the most part last week. Lovie Smith had to be pleased with the play of the much-maligned Rex Grossman, who completed 25-of-46 throws for 296 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions.

Those numbers could’ve been even better if not for a Devin Hester drop of a bomb that Grossman placed nicely for the speedster to run under. However, the special-teams playmaker mistimed the catch and allowed it to hit his shoulder pad and bounce away.

Washington is hoping to avoid its fifth consecutive loss in this spot. The ‘Skins have only covered the spread once in their last seven games.

They are a team that likes to establish the running game first. Clinton Portis has rushed for 920 yards and seven touchdowns, but he’s averaging just 3.9 yards per carry.

Washington (5-7 SU, 3-7-2 ATS) QB Jason Campbell has shown flashes of becoming a big-time player, but he’ still going through growing pains. The Auburn product has completed 59.9 percent of his throws for 2,600 yards, but his 12/11 touchdown-interception ratio could use improvement. Chris Cooley is Campbell’s favorite target, hauling in 53 receptions for 584 yards and seven TDs.

Chicago CB Nathan Vasher (groin) is expected to miss his 10th straight game. DT Anthony Adams, who has started the previous seven games, is “out” with an elbow injury. OT Fred Miller is a question mark.

Washington is an atrocious 1-5-1 ATS as a single-digit favorite this year. Meanwhile, the Bears are 2-3 both SU and ATS in five games as underdogs.

The ‘under’ is 4-2 for Washington at home, 3-3 for Chicago on the road.

The NFL Network will provide television coverage at 8:15 p.m. Eastern.

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Re: Thursday Football

Bears QB Grossman leaves Washington game

Landover, MD (Sports Network) - Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman left Thursday's contest against the Washington Redskins with 10:53 remaining in the first quarter with a knee injury.

Grossman, attempting to pass on 2nd-and-10, was dragged down by Cornelius Griffin as he let fly with a pass. Grossman's left leg buckled and after laying on the field for a few minutes, he walked towards the sidelines under his own power.

He will not to return to play.

Brian Griese came into the game in relief of Grossman.

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Re: Thursday Football

Redskins QB Campbell leaves game

Landover, MD (Sports Network) - Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell left Thursday's game against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter with a left knee injury.

After completing a short pass to running back Ladell Betts, Campbell was tackled by Chicago defensive end Mark Anderson. The quarterback was taken off the field on a cart and will not return.

It was the second time Campbell left the contest due to an injury. On the previous series, he was hit on his right forearm by Brandon McGowan as he was running out of bounds after a two-yard run.

Campbell, who went 10-for-16 with 100 yards, was replaced by Todd Collins.

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Re: Thursday Football

I am glad I don't have to watch this snooze fest   ;D

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