- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 13, 2015

CHICAGO — For now, the question can finally be put to rest. The Washington Redskins beat the Chicago Bears, 24-21, on Sunday, for their first road victory of the season.

The Redskins had previously lost five consecutive games away from FedEx Field after going 1-7 on the road last season.

“Maybe you ain’t got to ask us questions every week about it,” left tackle Trent Williams joked. “Honestly, it’s something we should have been doing. We shouldn’t be that bad on the road. It isn’t anything to say we think we made it just because we got a road win, but it’s a monkey off our back.”

Now, the question is whether the Redskins can win consecutive games — something they also haven’t done this season. They host the Buffalo Bills next Sunday at FedEx Field before finishing the season with road games against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys.

Washington scraped by with a victory on Sunday and many players acknowledged the team needs to be better as it continues its playoff push. Either way, it counts for a win all the same and kept the Redskins in a two-way tie with the Eagles for first-place in the NFC East — pending the results of the New York Giants’ game on Monday night.

“If we win by one or win by 75, it’s still a win,” Williams said. “It still counts as one. Obviously we would have liked to make it a complete game and not so close at the end, but it is what it is. That’s a good team. We came away with the win and that’s all that really matters.”

With that, here’s a look at three keys from Sunday’s win against the Bears.

** Quarterback Kirk Cousins had his best road performance of the season against Chicago, completing 24 of 31 passes for 300 yards and a touchdown. He was moving the ball efficiently on Sunday, spreading completions to nine different receivers. While he made plenty of solid throws, like the one to wide DeSean Jackson for a 29-yard gain in the third quarter, but there were two that are hard to ignore. In the third quarter, Cousins’ pass intended for wide receiver Pierre Garcon was intercepted by cornerback Kyle Fuller. It was an egregious throw, and after the game Cousins said that he didn’t see Fuller. Cousins also was nearly-intercepted in the fourth quarter when his pass to tight end Jordan Reed was tipped and caught by running back Matt Jones. Overall, it was a good game for Cousins. Though the interception and near-turnover could have been costly, the important thing is that the quarterback learns from the experience as he continues to develop.

** For the second consecutive week, the running game was efficient, which is all it needs to be lately. By Week 14, it’s clear that games where the Redskins average five or six yards per carry are few and far in between. On Sunday though, they rushed for 99 yards on 33 attempts, an average of three yards per carry. That is still not great, but it’s slightly better than the 2.8 they averaged last Monday against Dallas. The difference this week was the timing of the runs and how they impacted drives. On the opening series, the Redskins scored on a 15-play, 80-yard drive that lasted eight minutes and 30 seconds. Alfred Morris ran the ball eight times on the drive and scored as the Redskins balanced the offense well. Matt Jones rushed 62 yards on 18 attempts.

** After missing a critical field goal against the Dallas Cowboys last week, rookie kicker Dustin Hopkins bounced back on Sunday with a 47-yarder that proved to be the difference maker. It was hardly an easy kick in soggy conditions at Soldier Field, but Hopkins made it look like one.

“I was hard on myself [after Dallas loss] because I felt that was what occurred, not going to sugar coat what happened. I let myself think about it for a day. Kind of tried to learn what I could and after that day, still feeling disappointed. I woke up the next morning and it was done. I didn’t put too much thought into that. It’s nice to be on this side of it and be part of a three-phased win.”

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