The inability to contain Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins or protect the ball led to another disappointing loss for the Bears in their home finale Saturday at Soldier Field.
Operating the NFL's No. 3-ranked offense, Cousins threw for 270 yards with one touchdown and a 104.1 passer rating and ran for two more TDs in leading Washington to a 41-21 win.
The Bears (3-12) allowed the Redskins (8-6-1) to score on five straight possessions and seven of 10 drives overall excluding a kneel-down at the end of the first half. The 41 points the Bears allowed were their most since a 48-23 loss to the Cardinals Sept. 20, 2015.
Matt Barkley threw interceptions on the Bears' first four possessions of the second half and five picks overall. The Redskins converted the takeaways into 13 points. It was the most interceptions by a Bears quarterback since Jay Cutler threw five Nov. 12, 2009 in a 10-6 loss in San Francisco.
"The kind of game we saw it as is they were a very high octane offense; anywhere between three and two in the league in most areas," said coach John Fox. "We were going to try to keep them off the field. I think with five giveaways to none, that kind of spoiled that plan."
The Bears dropped to 3-12 for the first time since the NFL expanded to 16-games in 1978. Their worst finish since that point has been 4-12 in 1997, 1998 and 2002, but in all three of those seasons they were 4-11 before dropping their final game.
Barkley passed for 323 yards and two touchdowns but gave the Bears no chance to win with his picks. He has now thrown eight interceptions in back-to-back losses to the Packers and Redskins, one more than the Bears defense has generated all season. In their last two games, the Bears are minus-nine in turnover ratio with no takeaways and nine giveaways.
"For the most part we were moving the ball, making plays," Meredith said. "We were just shooting ourselves in the foot."
After allowing 226 yards rushing six days earlier to the Packers, the Bears permitted 208 yards on the ground to the Redskins. Mack Brown gained 82 yards on eight carries including a 61-yard TD in the game's final minute and Robert Kelley added 76 yards on 19 attempts.
The Bears defense did not permit a rush of more than 30 yards in the first 13 games of the season but has yielded runs of 61, 61, 42 and 36 yards in the last two contests.
"A lot of it is who you playing; how you execute, the matchups you have to be reflective of that," Fox said. "You're going to run into those type of games. That's why they call it a team game. You have to have all three phases operating on all cylinders."
Chris Thompson's 7-yard touchdown run up the middle gave the Redskins a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Bears answered, marching to the Washington 4 behind Barkley completions of 18 yards to Deonte Thompson and Jeffery and Howard's 23-yard run. But after two incompletions, Connor Barth's 22-yard field goal attempt was deflected by Preston Smith.
The Redskins scored a touchdown and field goal on their next two possessions to increase their lead to 17-7. Washington beat an all-out Bears blitz with a perfectly-executed screen pass that Thompson turned into a 17-yard TD, and Dustin Hopkins followed with a 29-yard field goal.
The kick came after Barkley's deep pass on a post pattern to Joshua Bellamy into triple coverage was intercepted by Bashaud Breeland at the Redskins' 1-yard line.
The Bears closed the gap to 17-7 on Jeremy Langford's 1-yard TD run with 6:20 left in the half. The touchdown was set up by Meredith's 32-yard catch and run to the Washington 1.
The Redskins scored on their fourth straight possession, taking a 24-7 lead as Cousins capped a nine-play, 91-yard drive with a 9-yard TD dash around right end, beating Pernell McPhee.
The Bears answered quickly as Jeffery outleaped Josh Norman for a 37-yard reception, setting up Barkley's 21-yard TD pass to Meredith in the right corner of the end zone, cutting the deficit to 24-14 with :34 remaining in the first half.
But Barkley followed by throwing interceptions on the Bears' first four drives of the second half, killing any chance they had to rally.