LANDOVER, Md. — The Chicago Bears are still finding amazing ways to win games. This time, their star linebacker caught a touchdown pass.
Brad Maynard, the holder on a fake field goal, threw a 27-yard pass to linebacker Brian Urlacher--the decisive touchdown Sunday as the Chicago Bears eliminated the Washington Redskins from the playoff race with a 20-15 victory.
"We're basically writing a storybook," said Maynard, who also is Chicago's punter. "We keep adding pages to it. I'm kind of anxious to see where we are in six or seven more weeks."
The Bears (11-3) are the NFC's surprise team, atop the Central Division with a season that has included come-from-behind overtime victories over San Francisco and Cleveland and a fourth-quarter comeback against Detroit.
The Redskins (6-8), meanwhile, are out of the playoff chase, their revival from a 0-5 start ending with their third consecutive home loss.
"To come back from 0-5 and to 5-0, it doesn't matter," tackle Jon Jansen said. "We wanted to get into the postseason, and we won't, so it's tough to swallow."
Maynard also took a late safety and landed his 31st and 32nd punts inside the 20. His highlight, though, was his second career NFL pass as the Bears lined up for a field goal trailing, 13-10.
Urlacher went in motion before the snap, and Maynard took the ball and rolled right with the option to pitch to kicker Paul Edinger. Instead, Urlacher--who dropped the ball both times when the play was practiced Friday--was wide open, and this time he made the catch.
"In the game I don't drop them," Urlacher said. "And that's all that matters."
Urlacher got the final word in a matchup with the NFL's other emerging second-year linebacker, LaVar Arrington.
A few verbal jabs were traded during the week, particularly between Urlacher and Redskin quarterback Tony Banks. Both linebackers played well in the defense-dominated game, but it's hard to top a touchdown reception on a fake field goal.
"It was fun, someone saying something like that," Urlacher said. "But it didn't make me play harder. I play hard all the time."
It was the second time a Bear linebacker caught a pass to beat the Redskins. Dick Butkus caught a pass in the end zone after an aborted extra-point attempt in a 16-15 victory in 1971.