Tale Of The Tape: Chicago Bears At Washington Redskins
- QuarterbackQuarterback Jay Cutler is making strides under head coach Marc Trestman, as he is less likely to take sacks and throw interceptions. Cutler has one of the strongest arms in the league and he also has a quick release. With a talented and improving crew of receivers, Cutler is completing 65.9 percent of his passes and he has a12-6 TD-interception ratio.This is a critical game for the Redskins and QB RGIII. If they are going to have a solid season, they are going to have to capture home games against winning teams. RGIII should find the Chicago defense to his liking, as they have slowed down quite a bit this year. RGIII must be decisive in his reads and accurate in his throws if he is going to take advantage.
- OffenseThe Bears want to take advantage of Matt Forte, one of the most versatile running backs in the league. Forte has excellent change of direction as a runner and the hands of a top receiver. Brandon Marshall is coming off a two-TD performance against the Giants and he has the size and reach to dominate. Alshon Jeffery is one of the most improved players in the league.Alfred Morris was a superb complement to RGIII a year ago, but he must be even better this year since the second-year quarterback is still not back in top form. Morris is a power runner who uses a nasty punch to finish his runs. Pierre Garcon and Leonard Hankerson are a dependable pair of receivers, but deep threat Santana Moss is not consistent enough.
- DefenseThe Bears are still adept at taking the football away and then putting it into the endzone. Tim Jennings returned his second interception of the year for a touchdown when he picked off Eli Manning in Week Six and returned it 48 yards. However, the Bears often struggle at the point of attack and they don’t put enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Julius Peppers is starting to slow down.The Redskins are not the most talented defense and they give up a boatload of yardage. If they can’t pressure Cutler, they are going to have a problem holding down the fast-paced Chicago offense. Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has the moves and quickness to collapse the pocket. Inside linebacker London Fletcher is a dependable tackler, but he lacks speed.
- Special TeamsThe Bears' special teams are solid in coverage and Devin Hester still has the quickness to give them a lift in the return game. Placekicker Robbie Gould may be the best in the league and he has made 12 straight attempts of 50 yards or more. Punter Adam Podlesh often struggles with his consistency.The Redskins were shredded by the Cowboys on special teams. Mike Shanahan is hoping that placekicker Kai Forbath (groin) can stay healthy after missing several early-season games. Sav Rocca can drop the ball inside the 20 with regularity.
The Bears should enjoy their trip to Washington because the Redskins’ defense does not appear up to the task of slowing down Cutler, Forte and Marshall. However, the Redskins need this game badly and they could cause problems if the offense can step up its game. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor