Again, Whatever It Takes: Redskins Win No. 6: Big Defense Jars Bears, 20-7.

CHICAGO, OCT. 6 -- An afternoon of swirling wind and temperatures in the forties, an afternoon when the Washington Redskins finally had their running game stuffed, boiled down to a handful of defining moments. There were a pair of big defensive plays by Kurt Gouveia and another by Fred Stokes. There was an afternoon of emotion and big plays from Wilber Marshall. There were a pair of Mark Rypien-to-Art Monk touchdown passes.

”We can’t start thinking we’re better than we are,” Coach Joe Gibbs said. “We can beat any team in this league and we can be beaten by any team. We understand we’re not a dominant team. Plus, we understand the things we have to do. We’ve got a lot of guys who’ve been around and I’m sure some of them are thinking this may be their last shot at the Super Bowl.”

This latest victory comes with a steep price because defensive end Markus Koch will be lost for at least six weeks with a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Now the Redskins have just two healthy ends, Charles Mann and Stokes.

Still, everything worked again. Marshall, Stokes and Gouveia intercepted Jim Harbaugh passes, and the Redskins got a great game from their kick coverage team and from punter Kelly Goodburn (44.2-yard average). Linebackers Ravin Caldwell and Marshall (10 tackles, two passes defensed) and others subbed at defensive end in the various Richie Petitbon schemes and all of them ended up contributing to an effort that allowed the Bears to cross midfield on only three of their first 10 possessions.

”We lost to a pretty good team today,” Bears Coach Mike Ditka said. “They deserved to beat us because they’re better than we are. I don’t know why anybody would be surprised. If we had beaten them, it would have been a tremendous upset.”

It wasn’t a classic.

The Bears gained more yards, had more first downs and had the ball for almost 32 1/2 minutes. What had been the NFL’s best rushing game averaged just 2.9 yards a carry. The Redskins were whistled for nine penalties. And Rypien had an erratic day, hitting a perfect pass here, then fighting the 25-mph wind and himself to overthrow a receiver there.

But when they were done, they’d again been good enough, running their record to 6-0 and remaining one of the NFL’s three unbeaten teams. They’re the first team to win six games, since the Buffalo Bills (5-0) play Monday night and the New Orleans Saints (5-0) had a bye.

The Redskins have been 6-0 only twice before, in 1978 under Jack Pardee and 1940 under Ray Flaherty. They were 7-0 only in 1940 and try to match that next Sunday against the Cleveland Browns at RFK Stadium. They then have a bye before going to Giants Stadium to play archrival New York.

The Redskins’ locker room was once more full of quiet confidence as they recited their one-game-at-a-time mantra. But now, having survived all kinds of tests, especially this week when they defeated Philadelphia at RFK on Monday night and traveled to Chicago and won six days later, they talked more and more about chemistry and a special season.

Gibbs dropped a Super Bowl reference into his postgame news conference for the first time. The reference may have been accidental and Gibbs may be kicking himself now, but the Redskins have seldom felt better about themselves. Asked about chemistry, center Jeff Bostic motioned around a locker room that clearly has it. He shrugged.

”It’s one of those things coaches would love to know how to get,” he said. “I thought we had great talent after the 1987 season. We were a better team going into the ‘88 season, but we didn’t even make the playoffs. We didn’t have that chemistry or that feeling. Who knows why? You can’t have chemistry class. It just happens. We were 1-3 in preseason, but I still had a good feeling. Everyone understood their role. That intensity has been there every week. It was there in ‘82 and ‘83 like that.”

”We’re getting better and better,” said linebacker Matt Millen, who is new here, having signed as a Plan B free agent in the offseason. “We’re getting more confidence, a better feel, and I think we’re turning into a pretty good football team. The thing is, you get a belief about yourself, and it’s tough to stop a team that has that. You can take that pretty far.”

The Redskins had predicted it would be a game of field position and defense even before they stepped out of their hotel this morning and felt the chilly, swirling wind. It was.

Each team had one first down and little else in a first quarter when the Bears (4-2) established that running back Earnest Byner (63 yards on 21 carries) wasn’t going to have the room he’d had the last few weeks.

The Redskins still had a big chance. That came in the final minute when wide receiver Gary Clark beat cornerback Lemuel Stinson down the middle. Rypien -- 18 of 31 for 168 yards, two touchdowns and an interception -- threw into the northerly wind, it held the ball up and Stinson caught it in stride.

”I thought that was a gut cinch touchdown,” Rypien said. “You’re running down the field ready to shake hands and you see it doesn’t get there. You kick yourself in the rear for that. It went the other way too, and I overthrew Ricky {Sanders} and Gary on some things. Those were some tough adjustments.”

The Redskins did score on their next possession after Brian Mitchell’s 17-yard punt return gave them the ball on the Chicago 35. After three plays netted only six yards, Chip Lohmiller kicked a 47-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 10:25 left in the half.

The Bears were stopped again after cornerback Martin Mayhew knocked the ball from wide receiver Tom Waddle on a third-down throw from Harbaugh (17 of 41 for 206 yards). The Redskins got the ball at their 26 and put together their best drive of the day, 74 yards in 12 plays consuming 5:40. There was still not much on the ground, but Rypien and his receivers did big work on third down.

Clark made a good catch in traffic on third and six from the 30. On consecutive third-down plays, Rypien hit Sanders for 11, Clark for 12 and, on third and eight, found Monk for a 26-yard touchdown pass behind cornerback Donnell Woolford to make it 10-0 with 1:53 left in the half.

”Ricky took the two safeties deep and Art got one-on-one with the cornerback,” Rypien said.

The 10-0 lead carried into intermission, but Harbaugh and the Bears opened the second half by driving from their 10 to the Washington 37, where on fourth and three, linebacker Gouveia decked Harbaugh. His pass to wide-open wideout Ron Morris sailed low.

The Bears kept the Redskins from their fourth shutout by driving 62 yards in six plays on their next possession. They got 38 of those yards on the first play when Harbaugh hit Morris for 33 and safety Brad Edwards was called for a face-mask penalty. On second and seven, tight end James Thornton caught a 13-yarder to the 8, and three plays later Neal Anderson scored on a one-yard run to make it 10-7 with 1:42 left in the third quarter.

The Redskins again couldn’t move, and the Bears took over at their 22 with 14:47 left in the game. But on second and six at the Chicago 36, defensive lineman Eric Williams tipped a Harbaugh pass that Stokes caught for his first NFL interception.

That came with 11:15 left and gave the Redskins possession at the Chicago 36. They iced the game by driving 36 yards in nine plays, with Monk catching a five-yard pass in the corner of the end zone.

Monk also had the second-biggest play of the drive, that coming on fourth and four at the Chicago 30. Gibbs said he decided against a field goal because of the wind, and Rypien hit Monk in traffic for 12 yards. The score came with 6:20 left and gave the Redskins a 17-7 lead. Gouveia’s interception with 6:02 left set up Lohmiller’s 23-yard field goal with 4:26 left.

”Our defense is leading us,” Gibbs said. “They’re a tight-knit group and have a real good feeling about what they’re doing. This is the best defense we’ve played here in a long time, and I just hope we keep it going.”

Redskins wide receiver Art Monk caught six passes for 69 yards yesterday and is third on the all-time reception list, one behind Charlie Joiner.


Steve Largent.....819..........13,089

Charlie Joiner....750..........12,146

Art Monk..........749..........10,222

Monk has now caught at least one pass in 122 consecutive regular season games, fourth-best streak in NFL history.


177.........Steve Largent..........1977-89

150.........Ozzie Newsome..........1979-89

127.........Harold Carmichael......1972-80

122.........Art Monk...............1983-91

121.........Mel Gray...............1973-82