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Week 16 Game Recap: Washington Redskins 41, Chicago Bears 21


What you need to know

Washington Redskins

Washington bullied a weak opponent in Chicago as expected, a get well game after their relative no-show effort in Carolina in Week 15. Wide receivers were running free routinely on intermediate and deep routes, fueling Kirk Cousins’ highly efficient game. With Jordan Reed out of the lineup, the wide receivers were front and center as Vernon Davis rarely saw a target. Rob Kelley dominated backfield snaps over Chris Thompson until Mack Brown cleaned up in garbage time. Thompson, however, was a focal point in the red zone of the Washington backfield.

Chicago Bears

There were a lot of smart people out there that thought the Bears could upset Washington in Week 16. Five Matt Barkley interceptions later … Barkley threw two touchdowns along with the five-spot of picks, but it’s worth mentioning that he went over 300 yards passing for the third time in five starts. Jordan Howard once again looks great, rushing for 119 yards on 18 carries. Cameron Meredith led the team in receiving with nine catches on 12 targets for 135 yards and a touchdown. Alshon Jeffery, up against Josh Norman for most of the game, caught five passes on 10 targets for 92 yards. While the Chicago Bears as a team aren’t very good, there definitely are some viable offensive options from which to choose.

Washington Redskins

QB Kirk Cousins, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 29 - 270 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 30 - 2
Cousins had a career day on the ground, rolling up 30 yards and two scores. The opening drive was capped off by Cousins eluding an unblocked rusher and finishing in the end zone after a 15-yard scamper. Washington’s receivers regularly separated from Chicago’s secondary, creating clear passing windows for Cousins. While he was accurate on most throws, notably a deep sideline route to Pierre Garcon, a handful of inaccurate passes prevented a monster passing performance by Cousins. A rare Washington punt early in the game was the result of Cousins missing a wide open Jamison Crowder on an out route. Later, Cousins overthrew DeSean Jackson behind the defense, a sure touchdown. Finally, Vernon Davis was wide open in the end zone, but Cousins under pressure missed Davis on fourth down. Cousins hit 300 total yards and three scores, but 400 yards and five scores were well within reach.

RB Rob Kelley, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 76 - 0, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (3 targets)
Kelley dominated the backfield snaps while the game against Chicago was still in doubt, ultimately giving way to Mack Brown in garbage time. Kelley was workman-like in his efforts, grinding out yards near the line of scrimmage. His best run came when he broke two tackles and churned for 15 yards into the red zone for 15 yards. Kelley sustained a knee injury which took him to the sideline in the middle of the game, but he returned in the third quarter. While 21 touches marked Kelley’s highest workload since Week 11, finding the end zone eluded him this week. Kelley was tackled at the one-yard-line on a red zone carry, only to see Kirk Cousins sneak in for the goal line touchdown. Kelley also logged a dropped pass. Garbage time fueled Mack Brown to a career day in relief as Kelley saw an early end to his afternoon.

RB Chris Thompson, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 20 - 1, Rec: 1 - 17 - 1 (1 targets)
Rob Kelley kept Thompson’s snap count low against Chicago. However, Thompson averaged nearly 10 yards per touch and totaled two touchdowns on minimal work. Thompson did not see a snap until the mid-first quarter, but found a huge running lane for a red zone carry for an easy score. Again in the red zone, Thompson’s next touch was a perfect screen pass call against a blitz where Thompson ran into the end zone untouched for another score. Thompson logged a perimeter run later in the game for 10 yards as well. The lack of playing time compared to Rob Kelley is concerning, but Thompson maximized his offensive involvement this week with red zone usage and efficiency.

WR DeSean Jackson, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 114 - 0 (7 targets)
Jackson was the clear feature element of Washington’s pass game against Chicago. Jackson separated easily on intermediate and deep routes. In addition to his 114 yards, his third straight 100-yard games and fourth in five weeks, Jackson drew a long defensive pass interference penalty and got behind the defense for a sure touchdown, but Kirk Cousins overthrew Jackson on the play. A 200-yard game with a touchdown was well within reach. Jackson’s best catch came on an uncharacteristic play for the thin-framed speed merchant. On a deep in-cut route on third down, Jackson high-pointed the pass, absorbed a big hit, and held on to convert in field goal range. Adding this highlight play to Jackson’s display of speed, sharp route running, and after-catch ability on his other receptions, this was Jackson’s most complete effort of the season.

WR Pierre Garcon, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 94 - 0 (5 targets)
Like teammate DeSean Jackson, Garcon had his way with the overmatched Chicago secondary in Washington’s comfortable win. Three of Garcon’s four receptions were on intermediate or deep routes, uncommon for the chain-moving receiver. Garcon beat press coverage on a post route for more than 25 yards as Washington emerged from the shadow of their own end zone. Again in the first half Garcon torched Chicago, winning easily on a deep route for more than 40 yards. While the volume was not there as Washington shifted to reserves on the field in the fourth quarter, Garcon had one of his best games of the season.

WR Jamison Crowder, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (2 targets)
With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon dominating the high-efficiency, low-volume Washington pass game this week, Crowder was the odd man out of the receiver corps. The slot maven saw just two targets. One featured a poor throw from Kirk Cousins on a deep out route on three down, a bread-and-butter play for Crowder to convert and move the chains. It was a rare stalled drive for Washington this week. Two targets marked Crowder’s lowest total of the season and now he has gone a month since eclipsing 50 yards in a game.

TE Vernon Davis, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (2 targets)
With Jordan Reed out of the lineup, Davis filled in as the starter. It was a low-key performance, however, with just two targets and none before the mid-third quarter. Davis converted a third down out route on his lone reception. Davis’ other target offered a touchdown opportunity, wide open in the end zone, but a pressured Kirk Cousins could not deliver an accurate pass on fourth down. Davis has rebounded with a quality season as he is set to enter free agency this coming offseason as his reception and yardage totals are his high-water marks dating back to 2013.


Chicago Bears

QB Matt Barkley, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 40 - 323 - 2 TD / 5 INT
Sunday’s 41-21 loss to the Washington Redskins is the low point of Matt Barkley’s short career as a member of the Chicago Bears. Barkley threw five interceptions in the loss to go along with 323 yards passing and two touchdowns. He’s now thrown eight interceptions in the past two games, many of which are inexplicable. Triple coverage didn’t stop Barkley from targeting Deonte Thompson on a seam route into the end zone, a ball that was intercepted with ease. Throwing off the back foot is not recommended, but that didn’t stop Barkley from mis-throwing a few due to a bad footwork. For all the bad, there were some nice throws, like the 21-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Meredith. The only thing stopping Barkley from being a half-decent quarterback is himself and his inability to not turn over the ball. But hey, he’s putting up some decent numbers if you ignore the picks. He’s registered eight touchdowns and has gone over 300-yards passing in three of his five starts.

RB Jordan Howard, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 119 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (3 targets)
Jordan Howard has been a 100-yard machine this season for the Chicago Bears. The rookie amassed 119 yards on 18 carries, upping his season rushing total to 1,178 yards. Howard broke seven tackles on the day, according to Pro Football Focus. Matt Barkley’s five interceptions significantly altered the game script; all the while Kirk Cousins and the Washington offense were scoring touchdowns. Playing from behind has been a killer for Howard’s stat line. If you look up and down the top ten of the rushing leaders list, Howard has the fewest amount by a decent margin. Eating into Howard’s touches Sunday was a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for a series and a Jeremy Langford series inside the Washington 10-yard line.; a drive that resulted in a Langford rushing touchdown. Howard is one of the lone bright spots during this awful season of Chicago Bears football.

RB Jeremy Langford, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 19 - 1, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)
Jeremy Langford made the most of his few touches Sunday against Washington. Despite only carrying the ball seven times for 19 yards, Langford found the end zone on a one-yard run one play after Matt Barkley found Cameron Meredith for 32 yards. As long as Jordan Howard continues to run all over opposing defenses, carries will be few and far between for Langford.

WR Cameron Meredith, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 135 - 1 (12 targets)
Aside from rookies Jordan Howard and Cody Whitehair, arguably no one on the Chicago Bears has been better this season than Cameron Meredith. A guy who wasn’t even in the conversation when the season started, Meredith is putting up some pretty big receiving numbers. Meredith was the Bears top receiver in Sunday’s 41-21 loss to Washington. He secured nine passes on 12 targets for 135 yards and a touchdown. Since Alshon Jeffery returned to the lineup two games ago, Meredith’s numbers only have gotten better. With Jeffery back, Meredith moved into the slot, which is a high-percentage throw for Matt Barkley. Meredith has caught 18 passes on 25 targets for 239 yards with a touchdown in the past two. He’s clearly Barkley’s favorite receiving option.

WR Alshon Jeffery, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 92 - 0 (10 targets)
Alshon Jeffery put up a pretty strong effort in Sunday’s 41-21 loss to Washington. Up against cornerback Josh Norman for the majority of the game, Jeffery caught five passes on 10 targets for 92 yards. Only one of Jeffrey’s catches (14 yards) came on someone not named Norman. What hurts Jeffery the most is Matt Barkley’s inability to throw a deep ball or 50/50 ball with any success. “Snatchability,” a term created by legendary former Chicago Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle, is one of Jeffery’s best attributes. Barkley simply hasn’t been able to get his big receiver the ball in those situations. Barkley has been much more successful throwing crossing routes in the middle of the field to Cameron Meredith. Even though the Bears have nothing to play for aside from losing to move up in the draft, Jeffery has a lot on the line in Chicago’s Week 17 matchup against Minnesota -- contract dollars.

WR Deonte Thompson, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 34 - 1 (4 targets)
Deonte Thompson found the end zone on a three-yard pass from Matt Barkley in Sunday’s 41-21 loss to Washington. One week after catching eight passes on 10 targets for 110 yards, Thompson played a fair quiet game aside from the touchdown. Alshon Jeffery and Cameron Meredith accounted for over half of the targets from Barkley. Thompson caught three of his four for 34 yards and the score. He’s not really someone you can count on for consistent production.

WR Josh Bellamy, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets)
Josh Bellamy’s bad hands have cost him targets over the past few weeks. Chicago’s most prolific pass-dropper only has seen five targets in the past two games after a three-game stretch of seeing 22 targets. Obviously it doesn’t help that Alshon Jeffery returned to the field. But it’s very obvious that Bellamy’s inability to hang onto the football at key moments of the game has put him in the dog house. Deonte Thompson has shown to be a more reliable third-or-fourth receiving option for Matt Barkley.