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We already heard Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan praise Albert Haynesworth for his gutty performance against the Chicago Bears not much more than a week removed from the tragic passing of his brother. Haynesworth’s teammate DeAngelo Hall also lauded Haynesworth during his appearance on EESPN 980 in DC with John Thompson and Doc Walker following the Skins’ victory. Considering Hall had just tied the NFL single-game record with four interceptions, it was nice to see him deflect some of the attention away from himself and onto a teammate. But don’t worry, Hall was sure to do some of his patented self-promotion as well. Here’s a few transcribed excerpts of the informative and entertaining interview:
Hall’s thoughts on Bears’s QB Jay Cutler saying that if given the another opportunity he’d try to pick on Hall again despite being picked off four times by him:
You know what? I didn’t know that until after the fact. I’m not going for that. I mean, Cutler’s a good quarterback. A little arrogant, a little cocky, cockier than you’d like him to be. But I played the kid one other time before yesterday, and it was when I was in Oakland, it was a Monday Night game. Everybody knows Oakland’s going to play man coverage , we’re going to play what Al Davis wants us to play, and Mike Shanahan knew that – he was still the coach of the Denver Broncos at the time. They were just mad protecting, max protection every time, leaving nine guys in there to block, running two-man routes, I’m talking double, triple move, comebacks, stutter-go comebacks, you know, nothing deep down the field. But the kid probably had four or five completions on me. And for him after that game to say he had a lot of success, I’m not this, I’m not that, and then to take that into this game too…my mindset was I definitely know he’s going to come at me. The way he talked about me after that game, I knew we was going to try to come at me. So I definitely wanted to bring my A-game in, but I didn’t think he would keep coming after all that."
Hall’s decision to give the game ball awarded to him to his defensive coordinator, Jim Haslett:
“Yeah, yeah. After the game, Coach Shanahan gave me the game ball, and I just told Coach Haslett for sticking with me, for staying on my back. You know, I’ve played against Coach Haslett a lot in this league. Against him. Especially when he was the head coach of the New Orleans Saints, and I made him pay a lot. I guess I hadn’t showed him that same killer instinct since he’s been here, and I definitely wanted to show him that, just for sticking with me, staying on me, trying to get the best out of me. I felt like he deserved my game ball, because I told him I had too many already….Coach Haslett was definitely appreciative of that. We’re a focused team out there Doc. "
Hall’s thoughts on how Haynesworth set the tone for the defense:
“He played the way we expected him to play. I think it all started with him. I think that opening play, that opening series, when we saw him attacking and playing the way he was playing, I think guys fed off of that. Normally before every game Doc, you normally see I go up to London Fletcher. Hey cat I’m going to follow you, you lead me I’m going to follow you. I did that same thing to London, and after Al went out there, me and Fletch went up to him and were like ‘hey bro, keep playing like that, we’re right with you. You know man? We’re right with you, we’re right behind you. I saw Donovan go up to him on the plane whisper some stuff to him in his ear. Al was just focused man, he was just focused. And the tragedy that happened in his life, I’ve lost a brother before that got murdered. So I know what that feels like. I know what that feels like, and for him to get out on the field like I was telling Coach Shanahan, that field is sometimes the only place you really have to get away from all your problems. And for him to really have that opportunity to get on that field yesterday and get away from everything else in his life except football, and to focus on that and dominate – he played lights out man, he played lights out, and we all fed off it.”
Finally, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan had to praise Albert Haynesworth. How could he not after Haynesworth dominated the Bears' offensive line in Sunday's 17-14 victory?
To his credit, Shanahan did indeed have good things to say about Haynesworth. Speaking at his normal Monday press conference, Shanahan said Haynesworth easily played his best game as a Redskins player yesterday.
Shanahan on Haynesworth: "Albert played exceptionally well. It's the best that he's played this season ... snice he's been here.
Shanahan also said Haynesworth successfully played both the run and the pass yesterday, which is what you have to do to succeed for him. He added that he was very pleased that Haynesworth gave a "100 percent effort," and went on and on and on. Is this a turning point in their relationship? That's easy to say after a game where Haynesworth excelled, but it's still possible.
Other notes from Shanahan's press conference:
Amidst the chaos of the second half at Soldier Field between the Redskins and Bears, one player managed to overcome the confines of mediocrity and shine in the Windy City. Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall intercepted four Jay Cutler passes, returning one 92 yards for a touchdown, propelling Washington to an important 17-14 win over Chicago.
Hall's huge day tied an NFL record for the most interceptions in a single game and even more remarkable was that all four picks were in the second half. Washington's defense also recovered a pair of fumbles, giving them six takeaways for the game and saving an offense struggling to produce points under Donovan McNabb.
With the Bears in the red zone and Cutler looking to build on a 14-10 lead late in the third quarter, Hall made spectacular one-handed interception and took off down the sideline. He found a convoy of blockers in front who escorted him into the end zone to put the Redskins on top for good. Later with minutes remaining, he made another interception on a Cutler bomb to allow McNabb and a beleaguered Redskins offense to run out the clock and enjoy a victory.
McNabb and the offense failed to score in the second half despite a strong day on the ground from new starting running back Ryan Torain. Making just his third start as a member of the Redskins, Torain rushed for 125 yards on 21 carries against the third best run defense in the NFL as Washington adopted a more conservative gameplan late to take the pressure off of a struggling McNabb.
McNabb went 17-32 for 200 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions; his worst game with Washington. The Redskins offensive line held Julius Peppers sackless, but McNabb was clearly flustered in the pocket for much of the day and as a result the offense failed to consistently move the football.
The Bears faced the same issue for much of the day, and whenever it appeared as if one of the offenses was beginning to get untracked, turnovers ensued. There were eight fumbles and six interceptions between the two teams as eight of the 13 possessions in the second half ended with a turnover.
The Redskins had every opportunity to establish a commanding lead early as they started beyond their own 40-yard line four times in the first half. However, McNabb ruined a promising drive in the first quarter by throwing an errant pass, which was deflected in the air and returned 54 for a touchdown by D.J. Moore to put Chicago up 7-0.
After the mistake, Washington settled down as McNabb led a pair of scoring drives to put Washington ahead 10-7 in the second quarter. Santana Moss hauled in a 24-yard touchdown reception, highlighting a five catch, 63 yard effort. Then Graham Gano hit a 46-yard field goal on the following Redskins drive as Chicago's offense sputtered.
Cutler was sacked three times in the first half, and the Bears had minus-5 yards of offense after a quarter of play. Cutler finished at 26-40, 281 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions, continuing a string of forgettable games for head coach Lovie Smith's prize quarterback. Moore's touchdown was the only thing keeping Chicago in the game until Cutler put together a late drive to give them the lead at halftime 14-10.
With 4:13 remaining in the half, the Bears had just one first down, but they added five on a seven-play drive, capped by a nine-yard touchdown toss from Cutler to receiver Johnny Knox. The Redskins had dominated the entire half in terms of yards, time of possession, and field position, but McNabb's interception and inability to maximize great field position left them in a hole heading into the locker room.
Chicago continued to move the ball on their opening drive of the second half. They brought it down to the Redskins' one where it appeared Cutler had reached out to break the plane of the end zone on a sneak to score. However, officials ruled that he was short and London Fletcher had stripped him of the ball. Smith didn't challenge and the Redskins escaped a 21-10 deficit.
With his back right at the end zone, McNabb made an ill-advised throw to his left, which was intercepted and returned for a touchdown again by Moore only to be called back after Washington was whistled for a delay of game penalty. Fans at Soldier Field voiced their displeasure, but little did they realize the comedy of errors was just starting.
The following six possessions ended with a turnover. The Bears drove inside the Redskins' 30 twice, but Cutler threw a pick to Hall and Matt Forte coughed up the ball to stifle Chicago's chances. McNabb returned the favor with a terrible pass intended for Joey Galloway that was intercepted and Torain fumbled inside the Bears' 20-yard line. Gano also missed a 37-yard field goal attempt with Washington in the red zone.
However, Hall's final interception allowed Mike Shanahan's team to close out the game by taking a knee; something the Redskins were unable to do in their previous three victories. Washington improves to 4-3 after beating Chicago, and the team has already equaled their win total from last season's 4-12 debacle. Next week they head to Detroit to take on the 1-5 Lions.
Game Notes: The last Redskins to have three or more interceptions in a game was Champ Bailey in 1999 against the Arizona Cardinals. Bailey notched the trifecta against Jake Plummer, a former Shanahan quarterback.
Another memorable moment occurred late in the game when Redskins' safety LaRon Landry lowered his head to make a tackle, but failed to realize a Cutler pass was heading right towards him. The ball ricocheted off his helmet and flew back 15 yards into the hands of left guard Chris Williams for a four yard reception.
Out of the eight fumbles in the game, Washington recovered seven.
It was a beautiful sight. Something Redskins fans haven't seen yet all season. The victory formation!
For just the second time this season for the Redskins, the game didn't come down to the last play. Following first downs by Chris Cooley and Ryan Torain on their final possession, Donovan McNabb and the Redskins were able to kneel the ball down and kill the game.
The victory wasn't easy though. In a game consisting of a total of nine turnovers, including eight fumbles (three lost) and six interceptions, the Redskins were able to hold on.
It was DeAngelo Hall who made the difference. He tied an NFL record with four interceptions on the day, including one that was returned for a long touchdown. All four of Hall's interceptions came in the second half.
The Redskins now have a well-earned 4-3 record, and are tied with the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost to the Tennessee Titans today, atop the NFC East.
This hasn't been a pretty game if you're a fan of either team. Well that is unless you have either the Bears defense or Redskins defense on your fantasy team.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Redskins were driving and Ryan Torain was running hard. Torain had racked up 45 yards on two carries, and was on his way to another nice run, until the ball popped out of his arms. Charles Tillman of the Bears recovered.
Chicago's ensuing possession didn't last long though. For the fifth straight possession, the Bears turned the ball over. DeAngelo Hall grabbed his second interception of the game to set the Redskins up in scoring territory. Hall already has one touchdown today, and may be on the way to having the game of his life. Unsurprisingly, the Bears fans are not happy with their quarterback, as they've begun booing Jay Cutler with each incomplete pass.
The Chicago Bears continue to fail at hanging onto the football. Once again, Jay Cutler and company got a couple first downs to move down the field. Once again, they finished a drive with no points.
This time, it was Matt Forte that coughed up the football. Forte fumbled trying to fight for a first down on a short pass, and the Redskins easily recovered. Linebacker Rocky McIntosh was the guy who forced the fumble for the Redskins. Washington is now driving up the field looking to take a two-score lead.
Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has to be sitting back thrilled with this defense's performance. His entire philosophy has been to force turnovers, even if it meant giving up a lot of yards. To be fair, a large degree of this performance has been the Bears' own ineptitude. Jay Cutler continues to force passes, and Forte needs to hang onto that ball here. But Haslett and the Redskins' defenders deserve a lot of credit for continuing to capitalize on their turnover-heavy philosophy.
The Redskins have relied on big plays all year. They just got a very, very big one from DeAngelo Hall. Hall, who already has one interception today, made a spectacular one-handed grab and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown to give the Redskins a 17-14 lead.
The play occurred on a 3rd and seven. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler flung one high out to the sidelines, and Hall outleaped Devin Hester to grab it. He then took off down the sidelines, and no Bears player was able to get to him.
The Bears had advanced the ball with short passing and a strong rushing attack, but Cutler's propensity for red zone inteceptions once again bit them at the wrong time. Cutler hasn't thrown any yet this year prior to that, but it's always a major concern for him. This throw, done off the back foot and lobbed to a short receiver, is the kind of throw Bears fans probably wish he'd avoid.
The offensive ineptitude in today's Redskins-Bears game continues. After a remarkable sequence that included a fumble on the goal line, a interception returned for a touchdown that was called off because of a delay of game and a three and out, both teams have turned it over again.
First, it was DeAngelo Hall picking off Jay Cutler for the Redskins. Hall cheated on a hook route defending Devin Hester, cutting in front of him and making a diving interception on a Cutler pass. It looked like Hester gave up on the route, but it was still a big play by Hall. However, three plays later, Donovan McNabb was intercepted throwing deep into double coverage on third down. McNabb's pass was intended for Joey Galloway, but Galloway barely noticed as Chicago cornerback Danieal Manning picked off the pass.
Manning returned the ball to close to midfield, but the Redskins challenged, and he was ruled down by contact at the Chicago 23-yard line. The Bears will take it there.
At the start of the second half, the Bears are picking up right where they left off.
It only took four plays for the Bears to drive down to the 1-yard line. A 48-yard pass from Jay Cutler to Earl Bennett brought the Bears within feet of their third touchdown. But on the ensuing play, it was Albert Haynesworth who made his first big play of the season. On a quarterback sneak, Cutler was met by Haynesworth at the line of scrimmage and held him in place. And while it appeared that Cutler may have extended the ball across the goalline, London Fletcher came flying in and knocked the ball out of his hands. Fletcher also recovered the football, and Lovie Smith elected not to challenge.
As Donovan McNabb began the next Redskins position from the Washington 1-yard line, the Bears thought they had earned their touchdown back. An interception by D.J. Moore was returned for a touchdown, but the score was called back due to a delay of game penalty.
And so ended a wild and crazy turn of events.
Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz is known for his vertical passing game. However, with his quarterback, Jay Cutler, getting battered by the Washington Redskins' defense, Martz decided the only way his team could move the football would be to go to the short passing game.
For one drive at least, the decision worked out. Cutler and the Bears called a number of slants and short passes to move up the field, and eventually finished the drive with a brilliant nine-yard scramble and pass to Johnny Knox for a touchdown. The Bears now lead 14-10, despite being inept offensively for most of the half.
Knox had three catches on the drive, all for first downs, as the Redskins' cornerbacks played off the Bears' receivers too much.
Graham Gano's 46-yard field goal early in the second quarter has given the Redskins their first advantage of the game. The field goal capped off a six-play, 22-yard drive, sparked by a 22-yard grab from Anthony Armstrong.
Washington has controlled the game aside from McNabb's costly interception. They have sacked Jay Cutler three times and limited the Bears to just 18 yards of offense. However, the Redskins have squandered multiple scoring chances after dominating field position and time of possession.
After dominating the majority of the first quarter in terms of yards and time of possession, but falling behind on the scoreboard, the Redskins have finally turned one of their drives into points.
A nine play 72-yard drive eclipsed by a Santana Moss touchdown catch has tied the game at 7-7. It was a drive filled with short plays for the Redskins, involving Ryan Torain and Chris Cooley on the majority of plays. But it was a 24-yard pass from Donovan McNabb to Moss in the endzone that capped off the first successful offensive possession of the game.
The Redskins have over 100 yards of offense and the Bears have negative totals, but it's Chicago who has a 7-0 lead after D.J. Moore intercepted a tipped Donovan McNabb pass and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown.
The Redskins were on a promising drive in Bears' territory when McNabb failed to see Moore coming on a corner blitz. Moore wrapped the Redskin quarterback up, but McNabb tossed up a pass which DT Israel Idonije batted into the arms of Moore.
Moore took it back untouched, leaving the Redskins with another blown possession on the season.
All of the Redskins were full participants in practice today with the exception of Mike Sellers who is still nursing a knee injury. But according to Matt Terl Mike Shanahan still expects Sellers to be able to play on Sunday.
Sellers will be an important member of the Redskins this weekend not only because of his contributions on offense, but for what he is able to contribute on special teams as well. Remember this? The Skins are going to need a lot of that this week as they face Devin Hester who is among the most dangerous return men in the game. They'll need the big presence of Sellers if they hope to slow him down. But if the NFL asks, I'm not condoning big hits ...
The Redskins added another player to their injury report, and it's one of their most important guys. The team just sent out the report, and safety LaRon Landry was listed as being limited in practice with an achilles injury.
Here is the full report, via Redskins PR.
OUT: Clinton Portis (groin)
LIMITED: Chris Cooley (head), LaRon Landry (achilles), Mike Sellers (heel)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DeAngelo Hall (back), Rocky McIntosh (head), Carlos Rogers (shoulder), Trent Williams (knee/toe).
And here is the Bears' injury report:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE: Zackary Bowman (foot), Roberto Garza (knee)
The Bears were one of the early surprises of the NFL season, starting 3-0 including wins over the Cowboys (which looks less impressive now) and the Packers (before all their injuries). Jay Cutler was playing like the quarterback everyone was hoping he could become and Mike Martz's offense was putting points on the board.
But since that win over the Packers the Bears offense has fallen off the face of the earth. Our Bears blog, Windy City Gridiron, has some alarming statistics. The Bears rank in the bottom five of the league in (takes deep breath); total yards per game, rushing yards per game, 3rd down percentage, red zone touchdown percentage, sacks allowed and sack rate. That's an issue.
After starting off quickly Cutler has fallen off as well.
In the RedZone, Jay is 9 of 17 for 48 yards, 3 touchdowns and a QB Rating of 98.3. At first look, those numbers look OK. But if you compare what he did in the first 3 weeks versus his last 2 games played, it doesn't look as rosy. Since the Green Bay game, Jay is just 1 of 4 for 6 yards with zero TDs in the RedZone; that's bad.
Yes, it is. Some of that has to be attributed to his concussion, which is certainly understandable and forgivable, but the results still stand.
If the Redskins have anything to do with it these trends will continue on Sunday. This might be the game when all those holding penalties against Brian Orakpo turn into actual factual sacks, and it should be a good chance for the skins to walk away with an important win on the road.
The Redskins suffered a tough defeat last weekend to the Colts but it is important to remember that all is not lost. They still sit at 3-3 and are within striking distance of the division lead. On Sunday they'll look to get back on the right side of .500 against the Bears at Soldier Field in the early 1 p.m. game.
The story of the Bears so far this season has been their offense or rather their lack thereof. After uniting quarterback Jay Cutler with offensive guru Mike Martz, the Bears figured to have a high-flying, high-scoring attack; but that hasn't really been the case. They've lost two of three after starting the season 3-0, and have looked really, really bad while doing it. The Redskins are going to have a great opportunity to get a win if their offense can be even slightly capable.
We'll have all the latest news and notes about the game as they become available in this StoryStream.
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