Bears notebook: Run defense an unexpected bright spot

Reed Schreck

There was much concern for Chicago's run defense going into Thursday's game against Washington and Clinton Portis.

As it turned out, that might have been the bright spot for the Bears in a 24-16 loss to the Redskins.

Portis gained 7 yards on five carries in the first quarter; 5 yards on three rushes in the second quarter; and 16 yards on four carries in the third quarter.

Portis hurt Chicago more as a receiver, especially on a 54-yard screen pass to the Bears 1 early in the second half. Portis left the game with a stomach ailment in the third quarter, but returned.

Briggs loses tag

Linebacker Lance Briggs has it figured that he now has clinched playing in 75 percent of his team's defensive snaps this season. That's significant if true because Chicago then couldn't place the franchise tag on him again this year.

That would mean he would become an unrestricted free agent.

Read on Rex

Grossman was 2-for-6 for 14 yards while he was in there for a passer rating of 42.4. There was no immediate information available on the severity of his injury.

Airing it out

The Bears have more 250-yard passing games now than in any year this decade.

They had five games with at least 250 gross yards entering the 'Skins game, and then produced their sixth. They had five all of last year when they went to the Super Bowl.

Chicago also began the week third in the NFL since Week 4 with 21 completions of 25 or more yards, trailing only New England (24) and Green Bay (23).

Bernard Berrian and Desmond Clark had five catches each of 25-plus yards during the stretch. Only San Diego's Antonio Gates (8) has more 25-plus yard catches than Clark's six this season among tight ends.

Thursday, Griese hit Berrian for 33 yards in the third quarter.

Falling on fumbles

Chicago had forced 14 fumbles this season before Thursday's game, with 13 different players recovering them. Only end Adewale Ogunleye has two.

Alex Brown forced a fumble in the second quarter, recovered by -- who else? -- Ogunleye.

Sacks keep coming

Chicago has had a sack in 18 straight games, beginning this week third in the NFL with 34. Mark Anderson and Alex Brown each had a sack Thursday.

Notes, numbers

Chicago's all-time prime time record was 28-44 going into the game compared to Washington's 41-43. ... Chicago had alternated wins and losses in its previous nine games. ... The Bears had won three of their previous four road games. ... Washington coach Joe Gibbs had won his only two prior meetings with Chicago's Lovie Smith. ... Chicago still leads the all-time series 23-22-1, with Washington holding a 12-9 advantage at home.

Inactive list

Kyle Orton was Chicago's third QB, while CB Nathan Vasher, LBs Darrell McClover, Nick Roach, G/C Josh Beekman, WR Mike Hass and DT Anthony Adams sat out.

Mark Brunell was Washington's third QB, with WR Jimmy Farris, CB David Macklin, TE Brian Kozlowski, LB Randall Godfrey, DT Ryan Boschetti, WR James Thrash and OL Todd Wade not suiting up.

Reed Schreck is the NFL writer for the Rockford Register Star. Contact him at 815-987-1381 or rschreck@rrstar.com.