Jay Cutler out at least 4 weeks; Lance Briggs out at least 6

October 21, 2013 (LAKE FOREST, Ill.)

Briggs' small fracture in his shoulder will leave him out at least six weeks while quarterback Jay Cutler's MRI revealed a muscle tear in his groin, leaving him out at least four weeks. Charles "Peanut" Tillman will be evaluated. The Bears have a bye-week next week.

Chicago's defense was in bad shape by the time RG3 was leading Washington on an 80-yard drive for the go-ahead touchdown Sunday. Briggs and Tillman (knee) left in the second half.

"They've been here a long time, made a lot of plays. Definitely wish we could have had them out there," linebacker Jonathan Bostic said.

The Bears entered Sunday without starting middle linebacker D.J. Williams and two defensive tackles because of season-ending injuries. Coach Marc Trestman said his "D'' was exhausted because it couldn't get off the field. Penalties on on-side and short kicks put the defense back on the field sooner than we'd like, Trestman said.

Trestman said he hopes his coaches spend part of the bye week "away from football." He said doctors told him that based on the "history" of Cutler's "highly documented" injury, four weeks is reasonable to expect until his return. Trestman said Cutler was "disappointed."

"It's tough to handle right now. Hope that Bostic and McCown can do something right now, but it's tough to handle," said Joe Grove, Bears fan.

With a record of 4-3, Chicago Bears fans already knew their team was in trouble, but Monday at Ditka's the dismay from fans was obvious upon hearing the news that Cutler and Briggs are both sidelined.

"Pretty typical. We've had problems with him in the past, so the season hinges on him right? So I don't expect much for the next four weeks," said Chris Pope, Bears fan.

But do the losses mean that the season is already over for the Bears? Senior ESPN sports writer Lester Munson says the Bears have bigger problems than a couple of injuries.

"We learned in the game against the Redskins that his backup Josh McCown is a perfectly good player, so fans must be cautious in reacting to this," Munson said. "Briggs is a loss. Cutler is not a big loss. The real problems are on defense. That's where fans should worry."

Die-hard bears fan John Vaughn is not giving up just yet.

"It's a long season. There are twists and turns throughout the season, and if I'm a true Bears fan. I can't give up 'til the 17th, 18th week anyway. Until they say they are out, I got to believe they have a chance," he said.

We're hearing a lot of mixed reaction about the injuries on our ABC7 Chicago Facebook page.

Rosa Vargas says: "Hope you feel better soon Jay! We need you!"

But others are not showing Jay Cutler the love. Some want to show him the door instead.

Marty Young posts: "I swear, Cutler must be made out of glass. He seems to get hurt every year."

And Cindy Rousonelos writes: "I think the bigger loss is Briggs... Out 6 weeks with a shoulder fracture."

Jenna Louise Holly is looking ahead to the next game, against Green Bay: "I still believe we can beat the Cheeseheads!" - she writes- "McCown isn't perfect, but he held his own last night. I would worry more about our weakened defense. Any chance Urlacher would like to come out of retirement?"

Roy Helu's 3-yard touchdown run with 45 seconds remaining gave the Redskins the 45-41 victory. The Bears stayed in it despite losing Cutler to a groin injury in the first half and two players from an already-depleted defense in the second half.

Neither of these teams will strike fear into the league's elite anytime soon, but there were some fun individual highlights. Chicago's Devin Hester tied an NFL record with his 19th return touchdown, and Washington rookie Jordan Reed had a breakout performance with 134 yards and a touchdown.

The Redskins are 2-4, and both victories have come against backup QBs: Matt Flynn - who has since been released by the Oakland Raiders - and Josh McCown, who took over for Cutler.

"When we go watch the film," Redskins QB Robert Griffin III said, "we won't watch it with smiles on our face... But I think we made enough plays today to win the game, and that's all matters."

Here are four reasons why the Redskins should bask while they can ahead of next week's visit to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, and why the Bears (4-3) have fallen out of first place in the NFC North after a 3-0 start:

TWO BACKS AND ONE RG3: The Redskins rushed for 209 yards, spreading the joy among Griffin (season-high 84), bruiser Alfred Morris (95) and the change-of-pace moves of Helu (41, three touchdowns). Griffin said the offense played most of the game in sync for the first time this season, in part because he's cleared a psychological hurdle in his return from offseason knee surgery.

"I think the mental part of it that I did get over was not thinking out on the field, just reacting," Griffin said. "And I don't think that was anything to do with my knee, the knee brace or anything else. I just think that was for me mentally playing the game, irrelevant of my injury."

CUTLER GOES DOWN: Cutler threw a pick-6 during a 3-for-8 afternoon that ended early in the second quarter on a sack by 333-pound nose tackle Chris Baker. McCown played for the first time since the 2011 season and was more effective, going 14 for 20 for 204 yards with one TD pass.

"Actually, when you knock a starter out in this league, you expect to dominate the backup, not vice versa - knock the starter out and the backup comes in and lights you up," Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said.

GET THE BALL TO JORDAN: The Redskins passing attack is still feeling its way, but one thing has become clear: Third-round draft pick Reed is a keeper. He caught all nine passes thrown his way. "When you look at it coaches' talk-wise, he's wired to separate," Griffin said. "He's got good hands. And like I like to say, he's got a wide catch radius, so he can catch about anything you throw at him." Reed has made such an impact that Fred Davis, who was expected to be the starter after he was re-signed in the offseason, was inactive Sunday.

SPECIAL MOMENTS: You could see this one coming: Hester returned a punt 81 yards, equaling Deion Sanders' mark for most return touchdowns. He did it against a Redskins team that allowed a special teams touchdown for the third consecutive game. Hester has 13 return TDs on punts, five on kickoffs and one on a missed field goal. Two other Bears close calls on special teams proved to be significant. Robbie Gould missed a field goal for the first time this season, although it was impossible to tell on the replay whether the 34-yard attempt was actually wide right. Chicago also recovered an onside kick in the fourth quarter, but the play was negated by an offsides call that was so close some Bears asked reporters whether it was correct. "The officials ... made a call," Gould said, "and that's the call you go with."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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