- The Washington Times - Monday, December 24, 2001

Brian Urlacher has made a name for himself as a fearsome linebacker in less than two seasons in Chicago. The Washington Redskins will remember him for his pass-catching ability, too.
Urlacher hauled in a 27-yard pass from holder (and punter) Brad Maynard on a fake field-goal attempt early in the fourth quarter yesterday for a touchdown that provided the game's winning points. But if the trial runs in practice were any indication, it was no sure thing Urlacher was going to catch the ball he dropped passes twice when the Bears ran the play in practice last week.
"In the game, I didn't drop it, so that's all that matters," Urlacher said.
Urlacher started the fourth-and-6 play as the end blocker on the left side. He started in motion to the right without a Redskin shadowing him and took off up field at the snap. The Redskins let Urlacher run straight up the field and paid attention to Maynard, who took the snap and rolled to his right. Kicker Paul Edinger trailed Maynard and served as an option pitch man.
Before any Redskin could close on Maynard, he lofted a pass to a wide-open Urlacher, who gathered in the ball and coasted into the end zone. Urlacher punctuated the score with a gesture in the end zone that appeared to be a hybrid of a Heisman Trophy pose and a crossing guard's stop sign.
"It was spur of the moment," said Urlacher, who said he made sure to notify game officials he was an eligible receiver. "I don't really know what to do when I score, so I just kind of stood there. I'm not really used to it."
Redskins players said after the game that someone was supposed to follow Urlacher in motion, and the two players who went after Maynard followed their assignments. David Terrell, who came across the field, tried futilely to chase down the 6-foot-3, 244-pound Urlacher.
"I went in motion, everyone stood up, and I said, 'Oh, they're going to get this one,'" said Urlacher, who scored his first offensive touchdown since his senior year at New Mexico. "But no one even covered me."
Urlacher played offense often at New Mexico, and occasionally returned kicks and punts, so he was not a complete stranger to handling the ball. He caught six touchdown passes in his college career, but this was his first as a pro. Oh, and he had an impact on defense, too, recording a game-high eight solo tackles.
Special teams coach Mike Sweatman put the play in this week, and specifically for the Redskins. (Urlacher said he thought the Bears put it in because the Redskins like to put all 11 men at or near the line of scrimmage on field-goal tries.) Sweatman recalled he had run the play when he coached the New York Giants' special teams from 1985 through 1992, when Lawrence Taylor was in Urlacher's role as the intended receiver. It served the Bears well yesterday.
"It's hard, on the other side of the ball, to defend those things," Chicago coach Dick Jauron said. "You want to put pressure on the kicker, and you've got to defend so many options."
Said Darrell Green: "No matter how you play across the board, when they get you with a trick, whether it's offense or defense, that always hurts worse."

Third down no charm
The Redskins struggled to gain yards on first and second downs, leaving themselves 18 third downs the most they have faced this season. Washington converted six (33.3 percent), an average performance that actually was fairly good considering how many were what coach Marty Schottenheimer calls "third-and-forevers."
Ten of the Redskins' third downs needed 8 or more yards, and just three needed less than 4 yards. Washington managed to convert two third-and-8s and two third-and-9s one each on a 12-play, 72-yard drive in the third quarter that ended with a field goal and a 13-10 lead. A failed third-and-8 left that possession short of the end zone; Schottenheimer acknowledged that the offense could convert only so many of those situations.
"I think [offensive coordinator] Jimmy [Raye] did a good job of mixing the plays the run and the pass," Schottenheimer said. "We had it down in there [on the 12-play drive] and once again we didn't put seven [points] on the board. It always comes back to haunt you if you're playing a good football team."

Dead zone
The first time, the Redskins penetrated the Chicago 20, it took them just three plays to move 15 yards into the end zone. Running back Stephen Davis added the exclamation point to the impressive drive by running untouched through a gaping hole for a 3-yard touchdown.
But that was not a harbinger of things to come for the Washington offense, which came into the game ranked 29th in red zone efficiency at just 37.9 percent. The Redskins wouldn't cross the goal line the rest of the day managing just two field goals despite running 14 plays from as close as the Bears' 25.
And for the second straight week, the Redskins lost at home despite gaining more yards, running more plays and keeping the ball longer than a formidable foe.
"That's called not taking advantage of your opportunities," said tight end Walter Rasby. "If you don't get in the end zone, then all that running up and down the field is for nothing."
When Davis was stuffed for no gain on second-and-1 at the Chicago 3 with 1:45 left, offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye abandoned the run.
On third down, with his first options covered, quarterback Tony Banks was pressured and threw incomplete to the well-covered Rasby well short of the goal line. And on fourth down, rookie wideout Rod Gardner couldn't reach Banks' pass as he was cutting across the back of the end zone.
"It's tough to score down there," Banks said. "I was hoping to find someone scat-free in the end zone, but that doesn't happen. Rod did a good job of trying to find a hole in there for me. I don't know if he could have caught it. I could probably have put the ball three inches to the right and made it easier for him."
Guard Ben Coleman said the Redskins made it easy for the Bears.
"You can't say Chicago really stopped us, we stopped ourselves," Coleman said. "We just didn't execute in the red zone. That's the story again, but this time, it knocked us out of the hunt. I don't have the answers. We ran it down there early and Stephen ran in there untouched."
Washington's lack of red-zone production doesn't even include the series at the end of the first half when the Redskins out of timeouts kept throwing the ball in the middle of the field and wound up mistakenly spiking the ball on third-and-4 at the Chicago 34 with 17 seconds left. Banks' fourth-down throw for tight end Zeron Flemister fell incomplete.
"I would have preferred for that not to happen," Schottenheimer said.
Banks said he heard someone tell him to spike it and thought the instructions had come in on his headset from quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer.
"I was trying to do what was I told," Banks said. "It wasn't something I wanted to do, but around here, you do as you're told or else. Obviously I heard something that Brian didn't say so it's on me."

Conway converts
Kicker Brett Conway's string of "doinks" ended when he converted 34- and 26-yard field goals. After he hit the uprights three times in two games, Conway didn't alter his style.
"I had some shorter field goals today," Conway said. "That's the way it's supposed to go."

One for the Booker
Sometimes, size can be deceiving. In the case of Bears receiver Marty Booker, Champ Bailey found out just how much and why Booker has blossomed into a top receiver in the league.
Booker snared seven passes for 74 yards yesterday 76 percent of quarterback Jim Miller 's passing yards with nearly all the catches coming on Bailey, who lined up against him all afternoon. Booker is only 5-foot-11, but his 215 pounds provide a wide frame that is tough to maneuver around, much like Arizona's David Boston .
"I thought I could use my size on him. The main thing was to go in and be physical. He's a cover corner. I wanted to see how he would take [the physical play,]" Booker said.
Bailey was strong on the plays in which Miller tried to hit Booker, a third-year receiver out of Northeast Louisiana, deep downfield. But on intermediate routes, Booker used his size to shield 188-pound Bailey from the ball.
"We knew they were going to match up Champ Bailey against him," Miller said. "They feel he's their best cover guy and Marty's our best receiver right now. [Booker] did an outstanding job and comes up with big plays."
Bailey was credited with six solo tackles (tying a team-high) and one pass defensed.
Said Booker: "We're both young and still improving. I can see some great battles going on down the road."

Double trouble
There's a perfectly good reason why the Chicago Bears' run defense ranks in the NFL's top five and Stephen Davis averaged just 2.6 yards per carry yesterday: It's the 634-plus pounds of defensive tackle carried by Keith Traylor and Ted Washington.
The Redskins' offensive line understandably had big problems blocking Traylor and Washington (listed at 330 pounds) and that hampered the running game. The pair combined for six solo tackles and two sacks.
"We weren't getting movement," Marty Schottenheimer said. "It's hard to run straight at those people. It makes a lot more sense in our view to try and go ahead and throw it."
The Redskins had trouble doing that, too, as the Bears totaled six sacks, including four in the second half.
"We had to stop the run also, but we knew if we got in [Tony Banks] face, it was going to be hard for them to beat us," Traylor said. "If you double us, somebody else is open. It's a Catch-22."
Chicago linebacker Rosevelt Colvin (two sacks) said stopping the run was a matter of suring up their tackling and not overpursuing the play. Traylor said the Bears "saw things a little bit better" as the game went on.

A-Train runs on time
The Redskins stymied Chicago rookie running back Anthony Thomas in the middle two quarters, but Thomas' first (five rushes, 25 yards) and fourth-quarter (12-53) totals helped keep the Bears offense going. He finished with 82 yards on 24 carries.
The most impressive stretch was in the fourth quarter, though, when he helped set up two scoring drives and take time off the clock.
"That makes it a little different they know what to expect, they know we're running the ball," said Thomas, a Michigan product. "They just don't know which side I'm going to."
Backup Leon Johnson made his two carries count, cutting his first carry, a toss play to the right side, back across to the left side of the field for a 32-yard touchdown that gave the visitors a 10-7 lead. Johnson also returned four punts for 42 yards.

Linebacker Kevin Mitchell, guard Ross Tucker, defensive end Donovan Arp, guard Alex Sulfsted, tight end Stephen Alexander, receiver Darnerien McCants and defensive end Otis Leverette were inactive.
Duff Durkin, Jody Foldesy, Rick Snider and David Elfin

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