Will 8-8 be enough to save Dick Jauron's job? Do the Bears even have a chance of winning in Kansas City next week? Will Rex Grossman become the real deal? Honestly, who knows? Right now it's the Washington Redskins, a team the Bears should beat and need to beat if they're going to get a chance for a valiant stand on the final day of the season in a week.
This week's story line is all about Rex Grossman and the formerly great coach Steve Spurrier, Grossman's college coach at Florida. Chances are Grossman will try to light up the team of the prickly, visor-wearing low-handicapper.
The Redskins win the toss and start at their own 20. Rock Cartwright runs twice to start things off and picks up 7 yards on his second effort. Tim Hasselbeck throws his first attempt and picks up where he left off last week when he had a 0.0 rating in a loss to the Cowboys. The Redskins punt, McQuarters makes a short return of it.
OK, Bears start just shy of midfield and Grossman looks for Justin Gage on a slant. Gage is hit and fumbles the ball back to the Redskins, ending, perhaps, the shortest possession ever.
It's safe to say Spurrier isn't going to let this guy fling the ball around. Hasselbeck hands to Cartwright twice to start the series. As scripted Hasselbeck's third-and-short toss is incomplete. Todd McMillon arrived a bit early there, but for the sake of moving this game along, we'll take the no-call. McQuarters lets Bryan Barker's punt land and it bounces to the 2.
Already this game is short on action and long on TV timeouts.
The Redskins jump and give the Bears some breathing room without even running an official play. And back we go. Grossman is flagged for a false start and we're back where we started. Thomas botches the handoff, falls on it and this game has all the makings of a really bad one. Stanley Pritchett dives into the pile and the Bears send in about 15 receivers for third down. Grossman's throw goes off Booker's out-stretched hand and right to Fred Smoot, who walks into the end zone. Replay coming as to whether Smoot was down. Much debate in the press box. I'll tell you replay really adds to the excitement of the game. Non-stop action. The play is over-turned. Redskins' ball at the 9.
Washington's possession is just a comedy of errors, too many to recount. Hasselbeck started things off by throwing the ball off the crossbar, then throws to his tight end, who had tripped, but Hasselbeck threw it anyway. Third down was just ugly. We'll spare you the details. The field goal is good, capping a four-play, 17-second, 0-yard drive. We can only hope Steve Sabol's guys are here to document all this.
Redskins 3, Bears 0
A Redskin got frisky with Jerry Azumah's facemask on the kickoff, so the Bears start at the 41. Grossman drops back on first down and throws deep to Booker. Touchdown. Fifty-nine yards. That was quick. Booker tried to leap into the crowd and had a little trouble. Grossman runs over and grabs the ball for the mantle. That's his first NFL TD pass and it was a nice one. Great throw.
Bears 7, Redskins 3
Hasselbeck actually completed a pass on the series, after starting 0-for-6. But it's short of the first and they'll punt again.
Grossman starts things off with a nice scramble and side-armed fling for 25 yards to Ahmad Merritt. Thomas runs twice and John Gilmore can't handle Grossman's third-down pass. He put a little too much on it. The Bears will go for it on 4th-and-2 at the Washington 41. Dez White comes around for a reverse and picks up 12 yards and the first. On a play-action, Grossman lofts one to Pritchett in the flat and he rumbles 17 yards down to the 1. From there, Pirtchett is stuffed, the Skins sniff out a pass play and then Booker is out of bounds in the back of the end zone. Paul Edinger kicks at 19-yard field goal.
Bears 10, Redskins 3
Hasselbeck completes two straight passes to cross midfield. Then they get tricky. Rod Gardner catches a long backwards screen and then throws a strike to Chad Morton for a touchdown.
Bears 10, Redskins 10
The Bears can't do anything with the ball, so they kick it back to the Redskins to see what they can do. Brad Maynard's punt takes a friendly Bears roll just inside the 5.