LANDOVER, Md. – On his first play in place of Jay Cutler, backup quarterback Josh McCown scrambled for 11 yards, diving out-of-bounds.
Not a pleasant sight for a team that just saw its starting quarterback go into the locker room.
McCown had a strong performance, keeping the Bears in the game by going 14 for 20 for 204 yards through the air with a touchdown. He also carried it four times for 33 yards, showing that he could move, but also making everyone on the sideline hold his breath.
“Guys on the sideline, you see them talking to Earl [Bennett], kind of getting him ready, and I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, there’s nobody else,’ ” McCown said after the Bears’ 45-41 loss to the Redskins.
Bennett was coy when asked about being the team’s emergency quarterback, saying, “We know who the third-string quarterback is. … well, for today, we did.”
Marc Trestman confirmed they had a plan, that the Bears’ slot receiver would have to go in if McCown went down.
“There’s no doubt, there’s always that [concern with McCown scrambling],” he said. “We’re prepared. Earl’s prepared to go in there and function. He’s not prepared to function for a half.”
Bennett never had to play quarterback and finished the game with three catches for 24 yards, none bigger than his 7-yard catch on third-and-6 at the start of the fourth quarter.
The first down continued the drive, and Matt Forte scored three plays later.
“Josh was going through his reads, and his read was come to my side of the field on the coverage they were running,” Bennett said.
The first play, and seeing how the scenario would play out if he got hurt, forced McCown to remember to slide.
“It’s hard to manage that while you’re running to think about Earl and that there’s nobody else. It was a good reminder to me [to] try to slide the rest of the time,” he said.
“Definitely, in those situations, it’s an interesting way to play, thinking ‘I’ve got to stay healthy.’ ”
McCown had to stay healthy to keep the Bears from a nightmare, emergency situation with Bennett, but his play helped keep the team alive in the shootout.
Disappointed defense: The 45 points the Bears gave up Sunday were the most since Oct. 25, 2009. The Redskins finished with 499 total yards of offense and they were 7 of 13 on third down. While the Bears had eight tackles for a loss, they had only one sack.
“We’ve got to get off the field, bottom line,” said defensive tackle Stephen Paea. “We had a lot of third downs in there, and we didn’t do a good job of getting off the field.”
Playing three-technique, Corey Wootton had two tackles, including one for a loss and a QB hit.
“We’ve got to do a better job to stop them,” he said. “They had to drive the whole field, and they drove it on us. We have to stop them. It was on us and we didn’t come through.”
Missing 55 and 33: For the entire fourth quarter, Lance Briggs was on the sideline. The Bears’ best defensive player left with a shoulder injury and was listed as probable to return, but never came back in the game. Charles Tillman left in the middle of the fourth with a knee injury and was also listed as probable to return, but never re-entered.