The Washington Redskins won't sugarcoat the way they played in their latest defeat, or the entire season for that matter.
They hope to avoid going 0-3 at home for the first time in 15 years while trying for a fifth consecutive victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
A season removed from winning the NFC East title, Washington (1-4) is searching for a way to get back on track and make up ground in a division in which no team is above .500.
The Redskins rank fourth in the NFL with 399.2 yards per game, but 20th at 21.4 points per contest. They are also near the bottom of the league with 395.0 yards and 28.6 points allowed per contest.
Washington is last in the league in punt coverage at 19.1 yards allowed per return and 28th in kickoff coverage at 26.4. It gave up an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown during a 31-16 loss at Dallas last Sunday.
"This team is the defending NFC (East) champs and we're sitting here at 1-4 right now," quarterback Robert Griffin III said. "We have to take that medicine and move on to the next week, learn from it and not put us in the tank."
Washington outgained the Cowboys 433-213. Alfred Morris rushed for 81 yards and a TD and Griffin threw for 246 yards and ran for 77 - five more yards than he totaled on the ground in the previous four games.
However, Griffin was 19 of 39 without a touchdown pass and had turnovers on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter.
"You aren't going to get any excuses from this guy," he said. "We didn't play well enough to win in all three phases of the game. We have to go out and win as a team."
The Redskins now get the chance to do so at home, where they haven't started 0-3 since 1998. Their FedEx Field losses have come against Philadelphia and Detroit by a combined 13 points.
"In order to beat a team like Chicago, you've got to take it a day at a time and just concentrate on that football team," Washington coach Mike Shanahan said. "If you get better as a group, then you've got a chance to win and at least that's the formula that I look at."
Though the Redskins have won four straight over the Bears (4-2), those games were decided by a combined 16 points. Chicago's Jay Cutler was intercepted four times by DeAngelo Hall in those contests, with Hall returning one for a 92-yard TD in Washington's 17-14 road win Oct. 24, 2010 in the latest meeting.
However, Cutler, who played his first three seasons for Shanahan in Denver, is averaging career highs with a 65.9 completion percentage and 95.2 passer rating. He's thrown four touchdowns and no interceptions the last two weeks, passing for two scores in a 27-21 victory over the New York Giants last Thursday that ended Chicago's two-game slide.
Brandon Marshall, who also played with Cutler for Shanahan in Denver, caught a season-high nine passes for 87 yards and two TDs against the Giants. Marshall bounced back after voicing his frustration following a four- reception, 30-yard, one-touchdown effort in a loss to New Orleans the previous week.
The Bears' 10-game run of forcing at least one turnover ended against the Saints, but they intercepted Eli Manning three times, including one Tim Jennings returned 48 yards for a touchdown.
Chicago has gone 17-1 in the last 18 in which it's forced at least three turnovers.
"We see things each and every week that tell us we cannot just be good, we can be very good," coach Marc Trestman said. "But we also know there's a lot of work ahead."
That's particularly true on the defensive line, which has lost tackles Henry Melton and Nate Collins to season-ending knee injuries. Those absences were likely a big reason the Giants' Brandon Jacobs rushed for 106 yards and two TDs in his first start since 2011.
The Bears also rank 30th with eight sacks.
"I believe the talent is there and we've just got to keep working on it," Trestman told the Bears' official website.
Marshall has 12 receptions for 232 yards and two touchdowns in two games against Washington.
Already struggling, the Redskins' banged-up kick and punt coverage units must try to contain dangerous return man Devin Hester. He has an NFL-record 18 returns for touchdowns, though he hasn't recorded one in his last 28 games dating to 2011.
The Associated Press News Service
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