The Washington Redskins earned their first road victory, staying on top of the NFC East, with a 24-21 win over the Chicago Bears Sunday at Soldier Field.
The monkey is off the Washington Redskins' back.
Check out these top photos from the Washington Redskins' 2015 Week 14 matchup against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, at Solider Field.
For the first time in six tries, the Redskins on Sunday earned their first road victory of the 2015 season, more importantly staying atop the NFC East standings, after defeating the Chicago Bears 24-21 at Soldier Field.
The Bears (5-8) proved just as pesky as the heavy raindrops in the Windy City on Sunday, overcoming a 14-0 deficit to tie the game at 21 late in the third quarter.
But the Redskins, who moved to 6-7 on the year, showed off their resiliency from there, using a Dustin Hopkins field goal and seeing the Bears miss a game-tying kick late to take control of the game. Washington looks to continue rolling next week at home, as it plays host to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at FedExField.
The Redskins opened up the fourth quarter with a 47-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins with 14:12 left to give them the lead, 24-21.
The two teams would then trade punts on back-to-back-to-back possessions before the Redskins took over with a 1st and 10 at their own 8-yard line with 6:18 left in the fourth quarter.
After a couple first downs, though, Washington faced a 3rd and 6 from their own 37.
Cousins dropped back, was flushed out of the pocket, fired it deep towards Reed. The ball was batted in the air and right into the hands of rookie running back Matt Jones, who made the catch while falling to the ground.
While on the ground, however, Jones flipped the ball to the ground, as if the play was over -- except it wasn't. Fortunately for Washington, the ball rolled right back into Jones' hands for a big first down conversion.
Phew. If you're Jones, you have to listen for a whistle there -- even if you feel a hand on your back while on the ground.
Three plays later, however, another third down. This time, Cousins' pass to Reed wouldn't be enough, and Washington would be forced to punt.
That bounced into the end zone, setting up a 1st and 10 from the Chicago 20 -- and, after a false start, a Chicago 1st and 15 from the 15.
On their first play after the false start, quarterback Jay Cutler would find wide receiver Alshon Jeffery wide open along the sideline for a 50-yard gain to the Washington 35.
Yikes. Can't leave the top opposing wide receiver wide open like that.
Two plays later, Cutler tried to find Jeffery again, this time over the top in the end zone, but Bashaud Breeland made a terrific play to knock the ball to the turf, almost earning an interception.
Then, on 3rd and 7, Cutler would overthrow Eddie Royal, setting up a 50-yard field goal attempt by Robbie Gould.
That kick sailed wide right, much to the delight of the Redskins' special teamers on the field, who sprinted to the sidelines to meet their overjoyed teammates.
THIRD QUARTER: Redskins 21, Bears 21
We're through three quarters at Soldier Field in Chicago, where the Washington Redskins and the Chicago Bears are tied at 21.
Washington could be a quarter away from its first road victory of the season, a win that could earn the team a top spot in the NFC East stadnings for a third straight week.
But a loss moves the Redskins to 0-6 on the road and on the outside looking in with three games remaining.
But there's a long 15 minutes to go here in the Windy City before any of those claims can be made.
After winning the opening coin toss and deferring to the second half, the Bears got the kickoff to start the third quarter.
But linebacker Ryan Kerrigan would ensure their first drive of the second half would go nowhere, as he logged sack No. 7.5 on the season on third down to force a Chicago punt.
The ensuing drive for the Redskins? Pure beauty from Kirk Cousins & Co.
Ten plays, 62 yards and 5:35 off the clock, culminating in a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Reed.
Reed, who's having another huge day catching the ball for Washington, had a key 32-yard reception earlier in the drive. Rookie running back Matt Jones also had a key effort on 3rd and 2 from the Chicago 22 to reach out and gain just enough for the first down.
Chicago would get into Washington territory on its ensuing drive, thanks in part to an unnecessary roughness call on safety Dashon Goldson that gave the Bears a 1st and 10 from the Washington 39.
They would find the end zone for the second time in the game six plays later, as Cutler hooked up with tight end Zach Miller for a nine-yard touchdown pass with 3:47 left in the third quarter. The Bears went 10 plays and 80 yards in 4:18.
Then, what couldn't happen -- an untimely turnover -- reared its ugly head for the Redskins. On 2nd and 8 from their 11-yard line, Cousins tried to loft a touch pass to wide receiver Pierre Garçon, but the ball went right into the waiting hands of cornerback Kyle Fuller at the 30.
His interception, and return to the 21, set up a seven-yard touchdown run three plays later by Matt Forte.
So with 1:24 left, we're all knotted at 21 here at Soldier Field.
After a 29-yard completion to DeSean Jackson, the Redskins have the ball at the Chicago 35-yard line when we pick up in the fourth quarter.
HALFTIME: Redskins 14, Bears 7
The Chicago Bears have caught a little momentum heading into halftime of today's showdown with the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field.
Now, let's see how Washington responds heading into the final two quarters.
At the end of the second quarter, Washington leads Chicago, 14-7.
The beginning of the second quarter represented a red zone opportunity for the Redskins' offense, off the heels of a long pass interference call on the Bears and a big gain to tight end Jordan Reed to end the first quarter.
After a six-yard pass to open up the second frame, head coach Jay Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay dialed up a little read option, which has been very successful in its limited use so far this season.
On 2nd and Goal from the 3, Cousins faked the handoff to running back Matt Jones and took off untouched to his left for the rushing touchdown, the Michigan State product's fourth of the season.
With 14:23 left in the first half, the Redskins took a 14-0 lead after an 8-play, 93-yard drive that took 3:18 off the clock.
Then it was the Redskins' defense's turn to make a play on the Bears' ensuing possession. Jay Cutler and the Chicago offense drove to the Washington 39-yard line when linebacker Trent Murphy burst through the offensive line and straight to the Bears' signal caller, earning the pass rusher's trifecta: a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery.
Quite a play for Murphy, as the Stanford product now has a career-best 3.5 sacks on the year.
But the Washington offense continued its trend of not being able to turn takeaways into points, as the Redskins would be forced to punt from their own 45 four plays later.
In the last seven takeaways caused by the Washington defense, its offense has mustered just three total points -- two weeks ago against the New York Giants. The Redskins know this is a pattern that must be corrected.
Penalties would kill the Chicago ensuing drive, however. A holding call, followed by a pass interference call, set up a 3rd and 28 from the Chicago 48. They would be forced to punt yet again after a 10-yard pass to Zach Miller on third down.
That Chicago punt went bouncing into the end zone, setting up Washington with a 1st and 10 from its 20 with 3:03 left in the first half.
But the Redskins would be forced into another three-and-out, highlighted by a nine-yard sack by linebacker Lamarr Houston on third down. On that play, Cousins perhaps held on to the ball a little too long, and Houston was happy to get a couple extra seconds to work his way to the quarterback.
The Bears took over after a 64-yard punt and 16-yard return at their own 42 with 1:10 remaining in the second quarter.
After missing on one deep shot on second down, they hit on the next play, a 36-yard pass from Cutler to wide receiver Deonte Thompson to get to the Washington 20.
They would score two plays later on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery, despite a pass interference call on the play by Will Blackmon.
The Redskins would run the clock out to end the first half, and will be kicking off to the Bears to start the third quarter.
FIRST QUARTER: Redskins 7, Bears 0
The Washington Redskins know the magnitude of coming away with a win today against the Chicago Bears.
Check out images of the Washington Redskins warming up and taking the field prior to their 2015 Week 14 matchup vs. the Chicago Bears Dec. 13, 2015, Solider Field, presented by Cox.
Not only would a victory be the team's first in six tries on the road this season, but it would continue to keep the Redskins atop the NFC East standings with three games left in the regular season.
And, after the first quarter, the Redskins have gotten off on the right foot, and lead the Bears, 7-0.
Chicago, which is 1-5 in home games this season, won the opening coin toss on Sunday, deferring to the second half. The Redskins received the opening kickoff and methodically drove into Bears territory.
A 17-yard pass on 3rd and 12 from Kirk Cousins to Rashad Ross was a key early in the drive, getting the ball to the Chicago 41-yard line.
Utilizing a good mixture of the run and the pass, Washington moved the ball to the Chicago 21 before facing a 3rd and 3 from the 21. A handoff to running back Alfred Morris on the play was good for five yards and a first down to the 16.
On 2nd and 12 from the Chicago 18, Cousins found his trusty tight end, Jordan Reed, who barreled his way around the 5 yard line and willed his way to the 1-foot line. The play was originally ruled a touchdown, but a review overtuned that ruling.
But one play later, on 1st and Goal from the 1, Morris plunged his way into the end zone for six, his first touchdown of the season. With 6:30 left, the Redskins took a 7-0 lead over the Bears.
It was the culmination of a beautiful 15-play, 80-yard drive that took an impressive 8:30 off the clock.
The Bears took over at their own 28 after the ensuing kickoff.
Three plays later, quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked by nose tackle Terrance Knighton, his first full sack as a member of the Redskins. A holding call on the next play set up a 2nd and 27. The Bears would only get as close as their 36 before being forced to punt.
Washington took over for its second possession at its own 13-yard line. Jamison Crowder turned in what would've been a career-best 27-yard return to the Washington 39, but a block in the back call on tight end Derek Carrier set the Redskins back.
The penalties -- including on special teams -- have reared their ugly head in recent weeks for the Redskins. They must clean that up in order to help their field position.
Carrier would soon be ruled out of the game, however, after suffering a right knee injury after making a reception. The Redskins need Carrier both as a blocker and a pass catcher -- hopefully, for them, it isn't too serious.
The Redskins used the deep ball later in their second drive to get to the Chicago 37, as Tracy Porter was flagged for pass interference on DeSean Jackson.
The Redskins faced a 1st and Goal from the Chicago 9 after a 28-yard pass from Cousins to Reed when we return