LANDOVER, Md. - Only days removed from burying a teammate, and without the benefit of a full practice, the Washington Redskins managed to win thanks to a backup quarterback who last completed a pass in 2004.
Todd Collins came on for the injured Jason Campbell and threw for two touchdowns last night, leading Washington to a 24-16 victory over the fading Chicago Bears that ended the Redskins' four-game losing streak.
"It seems like it's been forever since we won a game," Washington coach Joe Gibbs said. "This team's overcome so much . . . It's been an emotional roller coaster for us."
In a rough-and-tumble game befitting two teams that entered on the very fringe of the playoff chase in the so-so NFC, both lost their starting quarterbacks in the first half. Campbell left for good with a dislocated left kneecap a few plays after hurting his throwing elbow, while Rex Grossman never returned from a left knee injury on Chicago's second possession.
Campbell's left leg buckled when he was hit by defensive end Mark Anderson, one of three Bears defenders who converged on him as he completed a pass. He was 10-for-16 for 100 yards when he left.
Grossman was hurt slightly more than 4 minutes into the game. His left leg twisted awkwardly when he was driven into the ground by defensive lineman Cornelius Griffin.
Grossman finished 2-for-6 for 14 yards. His replacement, Brian Griese, threw interceptions on consecutive passes in the second quarter, both picked off by Shawn Springs. The first set up Collins' 21-yard touchdown pass to another backup, tight end Todd Yoder, to help Washington (6-7) build a 14-0 lead.
Collins wound up 15-for-20 for 224 yards and his first two scores since 2002, when he played for Kansas City.
Griese was 21-for-45 for 295 yards and one TD, but he also raised his season interception total to 12 in seven appearances for the reigning NFC champion Bears (5-8).
Both teams had a short turnaround from their previous games Sunday, but the Redskins' preparation was even more limited. The entire organization traveled to Florida for Monday's funeral of safety Sean Taylor, who died after being shot last week.
Coincidentally, tickets for this game, printed months ago, featured a picture of Taylor.
The temperature was 26 degrees at kickoff, and perhaps a combination of the cold and the lack of regular rest contributed to all of the injuries.
The list of ailments begins with the two starting quarterbacks and included running back Clinton Portis (stomach illness), right guard Randy Thomas (elbow) and cornerback Fred Smoot (cramps) of Washington, and defensive tackle Antonio Garay (ankle) of Chicago.
Redskins tight end Chris Cooley left two plays before Campbell did, and limped off to the locker room at the same time his QB was driven there on a cart. Cooley returned at the start of the second half. Portis made it back on the field, too. *