The Redskins tried to give Sunday's game to the Bears, but they refused to take it.
Six times Washington fumbled (five times in a sloppy second half by both teams), but only once did the Bears come up with the loose ball.
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Plus, Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb threw the Bears a pair of interceptions.
But Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw 4 picks back at the Redskins and the Bears lost 2 fumbles (1 by Cutler line), all in the second half in front of a disgusted Soldier Field crowd of 59,660.
The Redskins' 17-14 victory left both teams at 4-3, which says more about the overall mediocrity of the NFC than the competence of the two teams that combined for 9 turnovers.
Cutler's fumble came less than a yard from the Washington end zone on first down early in the third quarter, robbing the Bears of 7 points. And 1 of his 4 interceptions, all of them by DeAngelo Hall, was returned 92 yards for a touchdown.
After somehow stumbling their way to a 14-10 halftime lead, the Bears turned the ball over on six of their seven second-half possessions, including the first five.
That completely obliterated the 228 yards of total offense they managed when they weren't giving the ball away. Their only second-half possession that didn't end in a turnover concluded with a punt after three plays.
Cutler had just 3 interceptions in six games before Sunday, but in a span of 21 minutes he was picked off four times by Hall.
Three of the interceptions came on passes intended for Johnny Knox, who led the Bears with 6 receptions and 86 receiving yards. But, as usual, Cutler and Knox often did not appear to be on the same page, or even in the same playbook.
"It's just little bitty things here and there," Cutler said. "But little things add up to big things, and big things are reasons why you lose games. It can't happen and we've got to eliminate it."
Asked how many of the interceptions he was responsible for, Cutler said: "All of them. I'll take them all. Obviously it's very discouraging right now. We let a game get away from us. The defense has every right to be mad at us. We blew that game offensively, and most of that falls on my shoulders."
It would be tough to argue with that.
Cutler completed 26 of 40 passes for 281 yards. But he was sacked four times, missed open receivers and finished with a passer rating of 54.3.
With a bye this week, the Bears have two weeks to prepare for the winless Buffalo Bills, but that might not be enough time.
The improvement has to begin with Cutler and an offense that has produced a total of 2 touchdowns in the last two games, both home losses.
"Offensively, we need to make some steps," Cutler said. "It's very devastating right now, very disappointing. We have 4 picks and a couple fumbles, and that's the difference in the ballgame.
"It can't happen. The defense has just got to keep doing what they're doing. They're the reason we have 4 wins. The offense has got to get up to their level."
Midway through the third quarter, the offense finally snapped an 0-for-28 drought on third-down plays with Cutler at quarterback. In the last three-plus games, the Bears have converted just 5 of 53 third-down opportunities.
After Sunday's debacle, coach Lovie Smith was at a loss to describe what was wrong with his quarterback.
"I have to go and look at the video to know for sure," Smith said. "When you have that many turnovers, of course there is a problem. I can't say. I know Jay was trying to win the football game as much as anyone was out there. A few of those plays were great plays on their part."
In the first half, it was just another example of bad Bears offense. Their first six possessions produced a total of 24 yards, and Cutler was sacked three times.
"That first quarter and a half, they were really doing some stuff up front," Cutler said of the Redskins. "When it's bad, you've got to just ride it out. We countered and made some stuff happen, got the ball rolling a little bit at the end of the first half."
Late in the half, the Bears finally managed to put a drive together.
They went to shorter drops and quicker passes, and Cutler responded by completing all 7 of his passes on the drive for 59 yards. The last was a 9-yard TD toss to Knox, his first score of the season, which came 24 seconds before halftime.
Despite being outgained 144-to-minus-5 in the first quarter the Bears managed a 7-7 tie thanks to one big defensive play.
On a corner blitz, nickel back D.J. Moore came off the right side unblocked and wrapped up McNabb.
McNabb's throw under pressure was tipped straight up by defensive end Israel Idonije and into the hands of Moore, who outran the pursuit untouched for a 54-yard score, his first in the NFL.
• Follow Bob LeGere's Bears reports via Twitter@BobLeGere. Check out his blog, Bear Essentials at DailyHerald.com.