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Redskins Prosper From Bears' Turnovers


So this is what the Redskins' defense is supposed to look like, eh?

All last week, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett stressed that the Redskins barely played the new 3-4 defense in games against Green Bay and Indianapolis.

In both of those games, Haslett said, the Redskins played more of a 4-3 and sometimes employed five or six defensive backs.

On Sunday against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, the Redskins – owners of the 32nd-ranked defense in the NFL – played the 3-4 base almost the entire game.

The result?

Plenty of positives.

The defense yielded 322 yards, including just 66 rushing yards. They unit limited the Bears to just 2-of-10 third-down conversions.

And most importantly, the defense produced four sacks and six turnovers, including four interceptions by DeAngelo Hall to tie a Redskins franchise record.

Sacks and turnovers have been stressed all year long by Haslett and head coach Mike Shanahan.

"It was a defensive game," Shanahan said. "If you like defense, this was the game to be at."

Linebacker London Fletcher went a step further, calling it "one of the sloppiest games I've ever seen."

He quickly added: "Defensively, to get six turnovers is huge."

The linebackers were the playmakers on Sunday – just like they're supposed to be in a 3-4.

Fletcher finished the game with eight tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Rocky McIntosh had eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Brian Orakpo had two sacks and now leads the defense with seven this season.

On Sunday, the defense got rolling early with the front seven harassing Bears quarterback Jay Cutler early and often.

The defense forced 3-and-outs on Chicago's first three possessions, with defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth – playing in his first game since the passing of his brother in a motorcycle accident two weeks ago – penetrating past a struggling Bears offensive line.

On one play, Haynesworth pushed an offensive lineman right into Cutler and the Bears quarterback dropped to the ground. He was credited with a sack.


Midway through the second quarter, Haynesworth surged through blocks to tackle running back Chester Taylor for a 3-yard loss on a third-down play.

The Bears were able to score two touchdowns in the first half, though.

One was on a 54-yard interception return by cornerback D.J. Moore. The other was on a 7-play, 70-yard drive late in the first half that was capped by a 9-yard pass from Cutler to wide receiver Johnny Knox in the end zone.

The Bears turned over the lead in the second half – literally.

Cutler drove the offense downfield on the opening possession. On 1st-and-goal at the Redskins' 1-yard line, Cutler was stuffed by Haynesworth on a dive up the gut.

Fletcher poked the ball loose and pounced on it for the recovery.

It proved to be a key play in the game because it stymied a prime scoring opportunity for the Bears.

"Albert got great penetration and so that didn't allow Cutler to get much movement on the quarterback sneak," Fletcher said. "I had a feeling they were going to try and sneak it, and I really just thought about hitting the football if he tried to poke it across the goal line.

"Once the ball came out, it was really just a scramble to get possession of the football."

The best was yet to come.

With 1:53 left in the third quarter, Hall stepped in front of a Cutler pass along the right sideline and made a remarkable one-handed grab for his second interception of the quarter.

Open field ahead.

Hall nimbly avoided Cutler chasing after him and raced downfield untouched for a 92-yard interception return for a touchdown.

The score would prove to be the game-winning points for the Redskins.

With 2:24 left in the fourth quarter, with the Redskins clinging to the 17-14 lead, Cutler tested Hall again.

On 1st-and-10 at the 47-yard line, Cutler threw a deep sideline route to Knox. Hall leaped up in front of Knox for his fourth interception.

That pick would clinch the game for the Redskins.

The Bears would turn the ball over on their first five second-half possessions and six of seven possessions in the second half.

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