On the Redskins’ final possession, it was like last season. Moving well and making big plays, Griffin directed his first fourth-quarter comeback of 2013. Running back Roy Helu Jr.’s third rushing touchdown provided the go-ahead score, and Washington’s defense — which had been solid the past few games but was shaky in the second half — put away Chicago on Barry Cofield and Ryan Kerrigan’s game-closing sack.
The resurgence of running back Alfred Morris has coincided with the Redskins’ reversion to last season’s run-first approach, and the hard-charging runner played a big role in the victory. Soon, rookie tight end Jordan Reed could become the Redskins’ third-most important player on offense. Some would argue Reed already has achieved that status.
After steadily moving up the depth chart, Reed rocketed to the top with a record-setting receiving performance Sunday. Redskins coaches thought Reed would become a star. He’s making them look good.
At this point, there’s nothing good to say about Washington’s special teams. A week after one of the worst special teams performances in team history, the Bears returned a punt for a touchdown.
But the Redskins were able to overcome poor play on defense and special teams because their offense was special again. Let’s start with the guy who gets it started.
RGIII is back
During a Week 6 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, offensive play-caller Kyle Shanahan called more designed running plays for Griffin than he had previously this season. Shanahan dusted off the part of the playbook (there even was a quarterback draw sighting against the Cowboys) that produced the best results last season. Griffin ran for a season-high 77 yards against the Cowboys. He was even better against the Bears.
From the outset Sunday, Griffin signaled his intention to keep the Bears guessing by keeping the ball on zone-read plays. On the game’s second play from scrimmage, Griffin faked to Morris and ran around the right side for 23 yards.
Griffin gained 84 yards on 11 rushes. The payoff was a cumulative effect: The Bears’ defensive ends usually paused before rushing in, linebackers hesitated before dropping back in coverage and safeties played closer to the line.
As the game progressed, defensive players struggled to remain disciplined in their assignments. They were tired and worried about Griffin doing something extraordinary. You saw it on Washington’s go-ahead drive late in the fourth.