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Washington at Chicago

Edinger's third chance lifts Bears past Redskins

SportsLine.com wire reports

CHICAGO -- Paul Edinger ignored the gusting winds and the memories of the two makable field goals he'd already missed as he walked onto the field, thinking of nothing but his target.

With the winds howling again, Edinger focused on the left upright and kicked -- hard. Most in the stadium figured it was another miss as the ball sailed left and low, but not Edinger.

The ball curved right just as he knew it would, skimming over the bar for a 45-yard field goal with 5 seconds left to give the Chicago Bears a 27-24 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

"After those last two kicks, I said in my mind I was going to aim it there and I'm not going to second-guess myself," Edinger said. "It ended up right down the middle."

As the Bears celebrated, the Redskins watched in stunned silence.

"I almost didn't even watch it because I thought no way he's going to make it because of the conditions the way they were and what happened before," Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck said. "I didn't believe it until I saw guys on their side run across the field.

"It takes the wind out of you because we thought we were in it. It's so hard to be in games and lose closely."

It was the fifth loss in six games for the Redskins (5-10), who have lost six games this year by four points or fewer.

The Bears (7-8) have won four of their past five. They must win at Kansas City next Sunday to finish at .500 and avoid their fourth losing season in five years under Dick Jauron.

"It's more pride and heart right now," Bears running back Anthony Thomas said. "We can't go to the playoffs, so we just want to try and go .500 and get something started for next year."

Thomas finished with a season-high 141 yards rushing, and Rex Grossman improved to 2-0 as a starter. Facing Steve Spurrier, his coach at Florida, he was 19-of-32 for 249 yards and two touchdowns. His first career scoring pass was perfect, a 59-yard strike to Marty Booker over Champ Bailey. As Booker jumped into the stands behind the end zone, Grossman grabbed the ball and trotted back to the sideline.

"It was ironic looking over at the sidelines during the game," Grossman said of Spurrier. "It's just kind of weird that we're in this position because two years ago this time we were getting ready to play the Orange Bowl. This year, I'm playing with the Bears against him and the Redskins. It was a little weird, but it was fun to play him."

The loss spoiled a stellar effort by Hasselbeck. After finishing with a zero quarterback rating last weekend, Hasselbeck got off to a horrid start Sunday, throwing incompletions on his first six passes.

But he completed 16 of his last 19, throwing for 209 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with a rating of 116.9.

"If we get a win, I'd rather have stats like I had last week," Hasselbeck said. "When you're losing as many games as we're losing and you're losing the way we're losing, nothing can cure that like a win can."

Edinger knows exactly how that feels. He was one of the NFL's most accurate kickers his first three seasons, and began this season 14-for-14 on field goals. But he'd missed five of his last 12 kicks and had another blocked coming into Sunday's game.

He missed two more Sunday, one from 30 yards and another from 33 yards with 8:09 to play. Granted, the winds at Soldier Field were nasty, gusting up to 22 mph and swirling all over, but stats don't have asterisks for weather conditions.

"I don't know that anybody in here has any idea how good a kick that really was," Jauron said. "It was hard to kick the ball today. Every time it went in the air, you had no idea what the wind was going to do."

The Bears gave Edinger one last change, stuffing Hasselbeck on a third-and-1 at their own 43. The Redskins went for it, but rookie tackle Derrick Docerky was whistled for a false start, forcing a punt.

Grossman connected with David Terrell on a 22-yard pass, and Thomas converted on a huge fourth-and-inches to keep the drive alive at the Washington 37. Grossman then hit Dez White for a 9-yard gain to get within field goal range.

One play later, Edinger came through.

"I wanted to get right back out there, every time," he said. "We got in position and I came through. I'm glad I did to help my team win. It feels good."


  • After beating Chicago in six straight games, Washington has lost the last two.
  • Booker caught a pass in his 57th straight game, tying a franchise record.
  • Bailey left the game with face lacerations.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
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Paul Edinger is back in his teammates' good graces after his game-winning kick.
Paul Edinger is back in his teammates' good graces after his game-winning kick. (AP)


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Scoring Summary
FGJohn Hall 27 Yd, 10:12.
TDMarty Booker, 59 Yd pass from Rex Grossman (Paul Edinger kick is good), 9:57. Drive: 1 play, 59 yards in 0:15.
FGPaul Edinger 19 Yd, 2:45. Drive: 12 plays, 73 yards in 5:32.
TDChad Morton, 36 Yd pass from Rod Gardner (John Hall kick is good), 0:48. Drive: 4 plays, 63 yards in 1:57.
TDLaveranues Coles, 14 Yd pass from Tim Hasselbeck (John Hall kick is good), 0:16. Drive: 6 plays, 50 yards in 1:23.
TDJustin Gage, 11 Yd pass from Rex Grossman (Paul Edinger kick is good), 8:23. Drive: 13 plays, 68 yards in 6:37.
TDAnthony Thomas, 3 Yd run (Paul Edinger kick is good), 0:34. Drive: 12 plays, 81 yards in 6:41.
TDLaveranues Coles, 19 Yd pass from Tim Hasselbeck (John Hall kick is good), 12:52. Drive: 5 plays, 63 yards in 2:42.
FGPaul Edinger 45 Yd, 0:05. Drive: 13 plays, 51 yards in 5:07.
T. Hasselbeck16/2520920
R. Gardner1/23610
R. Cartwright134108
T. Hasselbeck3504
L. Coles794220
D. McCants240028
C. Morton238136
Z. Flemister229018
R. Gardner229015
R. Cartwright21508
T. Hasselbeck114014
R. Grossman19/3224921
A. Thomas32141116
S. Pritchett533018
D. White112012
B. Wade1505
R. Grossman1000
M. Booker480159
J. Gage442112
D. White229020
A. Merritt125025
D. Terrell122022
S. Pritchett220020
B. Wade216010
A. Thomas21108
D. Clark1404
Complete Player Stats