That combination barely helped the Redskins end their four-game losing streak Sunday with a 13-10 victory over the offensively inept Chicago Bears.
“I was telling the offensive line all week, `Just give me that crease, give me that crack,”’ said Portis, who had his best day since joining the Redskins in an offseason trade with Denver.
“I told them, `Just block your guys, open it up and I promise I will follow you.”’
Portis gained 171 yards on 36 carries, making up for Brunell’s 8-for-22 passing for just 95 yards.
Portis created some team turmoil with comments about the Washington offense, and gained just 53 yards last week in a loss to the Ravens. After he’d carried 21 times in the first half Sunday, Portis wanted more.
“I told coach (Joe) Gibbs, `Do you see my tongue hanging out?’ He said, No.’ I told him to run me until my tongue did hang out,” Portis said. “I want it 8 yards, 10 yards, 12 yards. Pickups like that eventually wear a defense down.”
Washington’s defense has given up only six touchdowns this season.
“Until that last whistle we aren’t going to stop coming at you,” said Redskins defensive back Fred Smoot. “Teams know that now.”
In a matchup of misfiring quarterbacks, Brunell and Quinn had trouble connecting with their receivers.
Quinn, once a backup to Brunell at Jacksonville, was making his fifth NFL start and second since replacing the injured Rex Grossman. He connected on 10-of-22 for just 65 yards.
“I’m not hitting passes. Guys are there and I miss them,” Quinn said. “The fans are frustrated. I’m frustrated. Everybody’s frustrated.”
The Bears (1-4) managed only 160 yards total offense and crossed midfield just three times, scoring their only TD on Jerry Azumah’s 70-yard interception return in the second quarter after Alex Brown tipped Brunell’s pass.
“We have to play better at the quarterback position. There’s no way to sugarcoat it,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said.
Azumah’s play was a bright spot and came in his first game back since neck surgery in August.
“Obviously the interception returned for a touchdown was a batted ball. You don’t want that to happen, but it did,” said Brunell, who had several passes tipped or batted. “That was an unfortunate play and we’ve had a lot of unfortunate plays.”
Azumah’s TD cut Washington’s lead to 10-7 after the Bears’ offense flopped for most of the half.
One of Brunell’s few well-thrown passes was an 18-yard TD toss to Rod Gardner on the first play of the second quarter, making it 10-0. The 79-yard drive also featured passes of 21 yards to Laveranues Coles and 11 yards to Portis.
Portis had failed to reach 100 yards in any of his previous four games for Washington. He had 103 by the half, including a twisting 19-yard run midway through the second quarter. He left the field briefly after taking a shoulder from Chicago’s Israel Idonije in the back, but returned soon thereafter.
Ola Kimrin, already cut twice by the Redskins, returned from his native Sweden to rejoin the team this week with John Hall out with a groin injury. He kicked a 41-yard field goal to open the scoring and hit a 26-yarder to start the fourth period, giving the Redskins a 13-7 lead.
Chicago got the ball back twice more, but Quinn was sacked by Shawn Springs on the first series and then twice more by Cornelius Griffin on the next set of downs. Taylor then intercepted Quinn at the Washington 40 and returned it 45 yards with 13 seconds to go. ^Notes: Bears DE Adewale Ogunleye left in the third quarter with a sprained ankle. … Jones gained 97 yards on 24 carries, including 75 yards in the second half. … The Redskins played without star linebacker LaVar Arrington, out with a knee injury.