LANDOVER, Maryland — Although he had not thrown a pass this season or taken a first-team rep during the week in practice, Josh McCown looked very sharp Sunday at FedEx Field.
Called upon when Jay Cutler exited with a groin injury in the second quarter, McCown completed 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions and a 119.6 passer rating in a 45-41 shootout loss to the Washington Redskins.
McCown led the Bears to three touchdowns and a field goal on six possessions in the second half. On the other two drives, Robbie Gould missed a 34-yard field goal attempt and time expired in the game. McCown's 7-yard touchdown strike to Martellus Bennett had given the Bears a 41-38 lead with 3:57 left before the Redskins rallied to win late.
After mustering only 46 total yards and two first downs in the first half, the Bears compiled 313 yards and 19 first downs in the second half.
"Josh took over the huddle, moved the football team and mixed the run and the pass," said coach Marc Trestman. "I didn't ask him what he liked or what he didn't like. I just called the plays according to the plan that we put together and I thought he functioned very well in the offense."
McCown had not played in a regular-season game since the Bears' 2011 finale when he completed 15 of 25 passes for 160 yards with 1 touchdown, 1 interception and a 75.4 rating in a win over the Minnesota Vikings.
McCown's 119.6 rating Sunday was the second-highest of his career, topped only by a 125.2 in a 2007 win over the Denver Broncos when he was playing for the Oakland Raiders.
"We lost our leader, which doesn't feel good," Bushrod said. "But Josh has been in this league for a long time. He's a leader himself. He came out there and he led and we all had his back. We fought, we fought, we fought. We just came up short."