LANDOVER, Md. (AP) – A bruising afternoon of defense put one quarterback out of the game, left a rookie starter sputtering, created five turnovers and produced a winning team that didn’t score a touchdown.

The Washington Redskins allowed only 166 yards, and John Hall kicked three field goals to make a winner of Mark Brunell in relief Sunday in a 9-7 victory over the Chicago Bears.

The Redskins overcame three turnovers, five untimely penalties and the loss of Patrick Ramsey, who had his neck wrung by blitzing linebacker Lance Briggs in the second quarter. Brunell entered to lead three scoring drives – all ending in field goals and powered in part by the running of Clinton Portis, who rushed for 121 yards on 21 carries.

The Redskins, seeking to rebound from a 6-10 record in coach Joe Gibbs’ comeback year, won their fourth straight season opener, although the victory was hardly a convincing one. The Bears, like the Redskins, are expected to struggle this season, and Chicago was starting a rookie quarterback on opening day for the first time in 51 years.

The rookie, Kyle Orton, appeared calm in the pocket and made a few clutch throws, but Washington’s defense shows every indication it again will be one of the league’s best. Chicago’s only score came after Washington’s Antonio Brown fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half, allowing Orton to lead a short drive that ended with Thomas Jones’ 1-yard run.

Orton, starting because of an injury to Rex Grossman, completed 15 of 28 passes for 141 yards. His next-to-last drive was going well – the Bears were at the Redskins’ 37 – until three straight false-start penalties and a sack left him with a third-and-38. Orton’s last drive ended when he was stripped by Cornelius Griffin, who recovered the fumble to seal Washington’s win.

Not long after Ramsey produced his only big play of the game – a 52-yard completion to Santana Moss – the Redskins quarterback was knocked out of the game by Briggs, who leaped to get past right tackle Jon Jansen and reached with his right arm to clobber Ramsey neck-high. Ramsey went down immediately and fumbled. Adewale Ogunleye recovered for Chicago, denying the Redskins a chance for a field goal.

Brunell, booed mercilessly last year by Washington fans, entered and led the game’s first two scoring drives on his first two series while trainers massaged Ramsey’s neck on the sideline. Safety Mike Green tugged Moss’ jersey for a 36-yard pass interference penalty to set up Hall’s 40-yard field goal, and a 23-yard pass to Chris Cooley led to a 43-yarder by Hall to make the score 6-0 at halftime.

Jones’ touchdown gave the Bears a 7-6 lead, but Brunell responded by leading a drive that produced a 20-yard field goal by Hall.

Chicago first-round draft pick Cedric Benson, who missed the preseason with a 36-day holdout, made his debut with three carries in the fourth quarter.

AP-ES-09-11-05 1611EDT


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