By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 25, 2010; 12:51 AM
CHICAGO - With their outstanding work completed, cornerback DeAngelo Hall and defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth celebrated briefly together late Sunday afternoon while the Washington Redskins' offense finished a 17-14 victory over the Chicago Bears.
The close friends definitely were entitled.
Hall tied the NFL record with four interceptions - including one that resulted in a 92-yard go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter - and Haynesworth dominated the Bears' offensive line, providing the biggest contributions in Washington's superb defensive performance before 62,155 at Soldier Field.
"DeAngelo . . . DeAngelo was incredible," inside linebacker and defensive captain London Fletcher said. "I mean, four interceptions, and one for a touchdown when they're driving on us, you can't say enough about that. And Albert, he played some major football for us today. I told the big fella, he played some dominant football for us."
Often lightning rods for controversy during their brief careers with the franchise, Hall and Haynesworth had - by far - their best performances in Redskins uniforms in leading the defense's six-takeaway outing. Washington last had six takeaways on Jan. 1, 2006, against the Philadelphia Eagles.
All of Hall's interceptions came in the game's final 24 minutes. The two-time Pro Bowler helped the Redskins (4-3) overcome a four-point halftime deficit and match their win total from last season. Hall also scored Washington's only touchdown in the season-opening victory over the Cowboys when he stripped running back Tashard Choice and returned the fumble 32 yards as time expired in the first half.
The seven-year veteran, who has a team-leading five interceptions, became the first Redskins defensive player to score two defensive touchdowns in a season since Andre Collins (two interception returns) accomplished the feat in 1994. Hall has two defensive touchdowns in a season for the first time in his career.
"It's not necessarily big for me, man, but it's big for this defense," said Hall, who has been slowed by a back problem. "You go out and look at the stats, man, we don't look too good on paper. But you watch us play live, man, we come out there and we're flying around. We're trying to hit guys. . . . I guarantee everybody that comes against our defense is definitely thinking twice about catching any balls, running any balls, running any routes, because we're going to try to bring it to them."
Hall made spectacular plays on his four interceptions - including a sensational one-handed grab before racing 92 yards along the sideline for a touchdown - to torment Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who accounted for five of the Bears' six turnovers, with four interceptions and a lost fumble in the second half.
Even after Hall intercepted two passes in the third and had the momentum-changing touchdown, the Bears determined there was "no reason to shy away from him," said Cutler, who finished with a 54.3 quarterback rating. "That's hard for me to say after throwing four picks to a guy. Still, if we had to play them tomorrow, I'd still go after him every time if we could."
And then there was Haynesworth, who sat out the previous two games after the death of his younger brother, Lance McCoy, in a motorcycle accident.
In a display unfamiliar to the Redskins, the two-time all-pro player played at a level he had shown previously with the Tennessee Titans. Haynesworth, who had his first sack of the season, repeatedly collapsed the pocket, often while occupying multiple blockers. He had two tackles for losses and two quarterback hits.
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has removed Haynesworth from some 3-4 alignments in which he has struggled, "and all I do is the stuff I did at Tennessee, and so I'm feeling more comfortable in the defense," Haynesworth said. "You should see more production out of me."
Said linebacker Lorenzo Alexander: "He was just a beast."
Although Hall's stirring touchdown put the Redskins ahead, Haynesworth's best play prevented the Bears from pulling away in the third. Leading 14-10 at halftime, Chicago (4-3) took the second-half kickoff and moved to the Redskins' 1-yard line on a 48-yard pass from Cutler to wide receiver Earl Bennett.
Bears Coach Lovie Smith challenged the ruling that Bennett did not score, but the call was upheld. On the next play, Haynesworth leapt over the line and held Cutler upright as Fletcher rushed in and stripped the ball.
The Bears were stunned. Coach Mike Shanahan was pleased. "Obviously, the difference in the game, anytime you make a play like that, inside the 1-yard line," he said. "Albert does a great job penetrating on that goal line. It was the difference in that play."
Linebacker Rocky McIntosh, who returned to the lineup after sitting out in Week 6 because of a concussion, also played a key role to help Washington's defense, ranked last before Sunday's game, hold Chicago to 322 total net yards. In the Redskins' first six games, opponents had averaged 420 yards.
For the second time in as many games, young running back Ryan Torain rushed for at least 100 yards. Torain gained 125 yards, averaging a six yards per carry. Washington's offense produced 308 total net yards despite another shaky performance by quarterback Donovan McNabb.
McNabb had only a 56.8 passer rating. The 12-year veteran teamed with Santana Moss on a 24-yard touchdown pass, but he threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted and returned 54 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. In four of seven games with the Redskins, McNabb has had passer ratings below 68.0. During that span, he has had only one game with a passer rating of at least 100.0.
"Well, you give credit to them [the Bears]," said McNabb, who was sacked twice, hit six times and pressured a lot. "They created pressure and got guys in the backfield."
Fortunately for the Redskins, Torain ran hard again. He became the first Redskins' running back with consecutive 100-yard games since Clinton Portis did it in October 2008.
Of course, the offense didn't have to do much because of the team's defensive play. Through seven games, the Redskins have 17 turnovers (nine fumbles and eight interceptions), the same total as they had all of last year.
Everything came together well for the defense against the Bears, and the Redskins hope to build on that with Haynesworth and Hall finally doing big things together.
"He played lights out, man," Hall said of Haynesworth. "When something tragic happens in your life - I can tell you first hand, man - you look forward to getting back to things to where you don't even think about it. Being out there on that football field, he probably didn't think about it one time.
"His brother's still with him in his heart, but I guarantee you when he was out there on that field, he didn't think about him one time. He thought about just beating the guy up in front of him, taking all that frustration and pain out on the guy in front of him. Very, very proud of him. Very proud of him playing the way we know he can play."