WASHINGTON — That’s a headline most Redskins fans didn’t expect to read this season.
The much-maligned defense, which has allowed at least 20 points in all but one game this season — the exception being when it allowed 10 points to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 — has five interceptions so far against Matt Barkley and the Chicago Bears.
Bashaud Breeland got Washington’s first, when Barkley inexplicably threw a deep ball to Josh Bellamy in triple coverage early in the second quarter.
The second was by Josh Norman, who caught the ill-advised pass by Barkley, who threw it under pressure by Preston Smith (more on him in a moment). This was on the Bears’ first possession of the second half.
Breeland then grabbed his second interception of the game, and Washington’s second of the half, on Chicago’s second offensive possession after halftime. It was the first play of the drive for the Bears.
Once the fourth quarter rolled around, Barkley opened the frame by throwing deep to Deonte Thompson, only to have it nearly intercepted by Greg Toler. The very next play, Barkley did toss his fourth pick, throwing deep to Alshon Jeffery, only to have Will Blackmon step in front of it for an easy interception. Blackmon then ran it back for 79 yards before finally being brought down.
After the Redskins added a field goal to take a 34-14 lead, Norman came through with another interception, his second of the game and the Redskins’ fifth.
Even beyond the interceptions, the Redskins defense has been superb.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Bears had managed 357 yards, but they’d only been into the red zone twice, going 1-for-2 in that time. They were also losing the time of possession battle by more than 10 minutes, with Washington holding the ball for 32 minutes, 11 seconds to Chicago’s 22 minutes.
Smith has been a huge reason for the Redskins’ defensive success. He has officially been credited with just one tackle, which was a sack, but he’s lived in the backfield all day.
The Redskins needed a strong showing by their defense at some point, and they finally got it. It couldn’t have come at much better of a time, either.