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Meriweather drew two personal foul penalties for helmet-to-helmet hits, including one on Brandon Marshall after the ball fell incomplete that helped set up a Bears touchdown on the next play.

After a week of much-hyped work, the bedraggled special teams whiffed on tackle after tackle when Devin Hester returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown through a lane that half the people in the stadium could’ve fit through. That’s three special teams touchdowns, for those keeping track at home, the Redskins have allowed in the last three games.

Griffin threw an easy interception, giving him six this season after just five all of last year.

But Griffin’s legs churned through the problems. Eighty-four yards on the ground in all. He darted and ducked in the pocket, rarely dropping back but instead throwing off a variety of rollouts that took advantage of his mobility.

They flirted with disaster and found a way to emerge in one piece. Like Griffin’s 45-yard touchdown heave to Aldrick Robinson. The ball looked like a sure interception, the sort of pass that hung in the air waiting to tumble into the arms of two defenders camped in the end zone. Then one fell and the ball, instead, found a home with Robinson.

Certain failure turned to celebration over a couple of agonizing seconds that played out in slow motion and seemed to sum up the Redskins on this fall afternoon.

Griffin finished off the survival course by orchestrating the drive that led to Roy Helu’s game-winning touchdown with 49 seconds left, and Barry Cofield and Ryan Kerrigan sent McCown to the ground for the final time as time expired.

This doesn’t change the Redskins’ deep flaws. The problems of the team once ticketed for the postseason don’t need to be restated. But they showed growth, tenacity. That was enough.

“Well, I think every game is big, but we sure need it after being 1-4,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “You don’t want to dig yourself a bigger hole than you’ve already done.”

No, the season wasn’t saved Sunday afternoon. But the Redskins gave themselves an opportunity to do so. They stayed alive.