Redskins accept 48-22 rout of Bears

Washington takes 45-0 lead, forces 5 Chicago turnovers to rebound from Dallas loss

November 01, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- Although it will be another week until the Washington Redskins rename their stadium FedEx Field, they received a hand-delivered gift in timely fashion yesterday.

Coming off last Sunday's emotional loss in Dallas, the Redskins never had a chance to fold, watching a 48-22 rout fall in their laps as the Chicago Bears lethargically laid down at Redskins Stadium.

The Redskins (5-2) scored the game's first 45 points against the uninspired Bears en route to racking up the most points in their 3-year-old stadium as well as the sixth-highest total in franchise history.

The fans broke into "The Wave" by the third quarter, when running back Stephen Davis (143 yards rushing) and quarterback Brad Johnson (204 yards passing) made early exits.

How bizarre was the victory for the Redskins?

The day began with defensive end Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson intercepting a pass and rambling 88 yards for a touchdown. It ended with coach Norv Turner walking into his news conference sporting a dirty gold-glistening false tooth for Halloween.

"It's not always going to be this way," a grinning Turner said.

The Bears (3-5), meanwhile, who previously hadn't been involved in a game decided by more than a touchdown this season, switched quarterbacks three times in the first half. They turned the ball over more times (five) than their number of trips into the red zone (four). They were penalized for more yards (85) than they totaled rushing (74).

"There's not much good to say after a game like that," Bears coach Dick Jauron said. "It was a long day."

"We needed this," said Washington receiver Michael Westbrook, who had five catches for 85 yards. "We knew we were a better team than how we played in Dallas. Today, we proved it."

Turner epitomized the change in attitude.

Last week, he left the locker room flushed after a 40-minute dressing down by owner Daniel Snyder. Yesterday, Turner opened his talk with the media like a stand-up comic, flashing his fake tooth while uncharacteristically delivering jokes.

"This was a gift from [fullback] Larry Centers for Halloween," said Turner, who added, "Sorry I was a little late. I was in a meeting with Mr. Snyder."

Chicago showed an apparent lack of intensity on the game's first two plays.

Bears cornerback Walt Harris broke perfectly in front of Centers and dropped a possible interception with no one between him and the end zone. Then Chicago reacted slowly to a pitchout.

Davis had only to make one cutback against the Chicago defense before finding a wide-open field, coasting 76 yards for a touchdown. It was the fifth-longest run in Redskins history.

"Before the game, I knew it was going to be the second play," Davis said. "I felt if I got some good blocking, it would be a long run for me.

"We did a lot of movement before the snap and they got confused. We had good angles on all the blocks and they never got over to me."

A lack of poise hurt the Bears after they had driven to Washington's 10-yard line on the next series. Despite seeing defensive end Marco Coleman coming from the right side, Chicago starting quarterback Shane Matthews hurried a throw while being hit. Wilkinson corralled the wobbly pass, and the 6-foot-5, 313-pounder lumbered 88 yards down the left sideline and into the end zone.

"It looked like someone was pushing an old Ford pickup after it had run out of gas," Redskins receiver Albert Connell said.

Said cornerback Darrell Green, who trailed Wilkinson all the way so no one would sneak up and tackle his teammate: "I was like a police escort with all the lights flashing. It felt like I was pushing a bus on a motorcycle."

It was Wilkinson's third interception in his entire football career and first touchdown.

"I'm going to talk about this for the rest of my life," said Wilkinson, holding the ball firmly. "It took me until halftime to recuperate."

The Redskins held a 14-0 lead before Johnson, the NFL's top passer, had completed a throw. But Johnson, who missed on 10 of his first 18 passes, didn't have to be sharp.

After Washington's Brett Conway matched his career-best with a 50-yard field goal for a 17-0 margin, Johnson engineered an eight-play, 99-yard drive on the Redskins' next possession. The series ended with Johnson bobbling a snap, but having enough time to improvise and roll to his right for a 1-yard touchdown run.

"Things can break down," said Johnson, who finished 15-for-25 passing. "Fortunately, we took something bad and made it something good."

Try telling that to the Bears, a shell of their "Monsters of the Midway" fame. Their defensive line was pushed around all game, their linebackers didn't finish tackles and their secondary played soft, ushering the Redskins to a 31-0 halftime advantage.

Chicago's troubles peaked on the second play of the third quarter. With the Bears backed up to their 8-yard line, rookie quarterback Cade McNown's fumble on the exchange from center was recovered by Coleman.

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