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 Thursday night, leading Washington to a 24-16 victory over the fading Chicago Bears that ended a 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 starting quarterbacks left in the first half. Campbell departed in the second quarter with a dislocated left kneecap a few plays after hurting his throwing elbow, and Rex Grossman never returned from a left-knee injury on Chicago's second possession.
Grossman's replacement, Brian Griese, threw interceptions on consecutive passes in the second quarter, both picked off by Shawn Springs. The cornerback returned the first 53 yards, setting up Collins' 21-yard touchdown pass to another backup, tight end Todd Yoder, to put Washington (6-7) ahead 7-0.
Collins wound up 15-for-20 for 224 yards and his first two scores since 2002, when he played for Kansas City.
"I don't know that I've ever had a better performance coming off the bench. Ever," Gibbs said.
Griese was 21-for-45 for 295 yards and one TD but also raised his interception total to 12 in seven appearances this season 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.
Tickets for this game, printed months ago, featured a picture of Taylor.
Several players and coaches spoke about feeling a sense of closure after paying their respects, and being able to focus on football.
One sign of moving forward: A makeshift Taylor memorial, on a patch of grass outside the stadium is gone. Fans left flowers, candles, teddy bears, homemade signs and other tokens before Sunday's game, but nothing remained in that spot Wednesday, other than some piles of snow.
The temperature was 26 degrees at kickoff, and perhaps a combination of cold and lack of rest contributed to the injuries.
They included running back Clinton Portis (stomach illness), right guard Randy Thomas (elbow) and cornerback Fred Smoot (cramps) of Washington, and Bear defensive tackle Antonio Garay (ankle). Also, 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.