The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Cutler, Briggs Injured As Bears Fall To Washington 45-41

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 21, 2013 3:15PM

The Bears continued their recent middling play, lost quarterback Jay Cutler to injury (though backup Josh McCown played well) and the defense couldn't hold Washington, who beat the Bears 45-41 at FedEx Field Sunday.

Washington scored on the game's first possession, taking an early 3-0 lead on Kai Forbath's 38-yard field goal. But the Bears tied the game on a kick set up by a short punt when Washington was already pinned against their end zone. Charles Tillman later intercepted Robert Griffin III and returned the pick to Washington's 10-yard line to set up Matt Forte's first score, a 2-yard run.

The Redskins scored a TD early in the second quarter to tie the game, then a Jay Cutler pass intended for Alshon Jeffrey was ripped out of the receiver's hands by Brian Orakpo and returned 29 yards for a TD and a 17-10 lead. The Bears lost Cutler when he was sacked by 333-pound nose tackle Chris Baker and injured his groin. Devin Hester's returned a punt 81 yards for touchdown tied the game at 17 apiece. The TD was Hester's 19th touchdown return of his career and tieed him with Deion Sanders for most all time. Washington took a 24-17 lead into halftime Griffin connected with tight end Jordan Reed. Amazingly, the Bears needed just 46 yards of total offense to score their 17 points.

Despite Robbie Gould missing a field goal on the team's opening drive of the second half, the Bears got on the board first when Matt Forte broke free for a 50-yard TD, knotting the game at 24 apiece. The Redskins countered with a TD of their own and kept a seven point lead heading into the final quarter. The trading of touchdowns continued into the fourth with a 6-yard run by Forte and and a 45-yard score from griffin to Aldrick Robinson. Gould connected from 49 yards out to cut the Washington lead to 38-34 when Josh McCown found Martellus Bennett from seven yards out for a 41-38 lead with less than four minutes remaining. But the depleted Bears defense could not hold back the Redskins offense. Roy Helu scored his third touchdown of the day with less than a minute to play and capped a game-winning 8-yard drive for Washington.

In Cutler's place, McCown performed admirable for a guy who's hardly seen the field in the past five years. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards and a TD. Alshon Jeffrey continued to show his potential, catching four balls for 105 yards while Brandon Marshall hauled in six for 75 yards. Matt Forte ran for 91 yards and three TDs, including his 50-yard score. The offense, which was held to under 50 total yards before halftime compiled over 300 in the second half.

The biggest concern for Bears fans is Cutler's groin injury. In the postgame interview, coach Marc Trestman clarrified, “It’s a groin. It’s not a knee. It’s not an ankle. It’s not a hip. It’s just a groin injury.’’ The team didn't yet know the extent of the injury, but more may be known after an MRI on Monday. The worst case scenario could be something akin to what Nomar Garciaparra suffered in 2005, and there were whispers to that effect among the local sports media on Twitter last night. That means, even with the bye week, we might be in for an extended run of the Josh McCown show. The Bears rushed to add Jordan Palmer on Sunday, which also indicated the Bears suspect Cutler is sidelined for a while.

In addition to Cutler's injury, the bumps and bruises continue to pile up on defense. Lance Briggs injured his shoulder during the game, and Charles Tillman re-aggravated his knee so both finished the game on the sidelines. The Bears offense, even without Cutler, did their part but the defense could not contain Washington.

The Bears enter their bye week licking a lot of wounds. The week off may be enough for some to get healthy, but their most important player may remain in street clothes for quite some time. And that doesn't bode well for the Bears, who have now fallen to 4-3. The defense hasn't been as stingy as in the past even before losing so many players and now the offense may struggle with an understudy under center. At least McCown has two weeks to work with the first team before facing Green Bay on Monday Night Football.