But Mike Ditka saw things differently.
"I refuse to stand back and give credit to the other people because we are absolutely an atrocious football team right now," said the Bears' coach, his face flushed with anger. "It's a dark day for this organization. It was the worst exhibition of football I've ever seen in my life."
Rypien threw for a career-high 401 yards and four touchdowns as the Redskins ruined the Bears' chance to move into a tie for first in the NFC Central.
The loss left Chicago at 6-6, a game behind the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. According to Ditka, it might as well be a 10-game deficit.
"There's nothing we can do this year. It's over," Ditka said.
Rypien fumbled upon being sacked in the second quarter, his 12th fumble in 13 sacks this season. But he more than made up for that shortcoming by completing a career-best 30 passes in 47 attempts.
Two of his touchdown tosses went to Art Monk, who finished with nine catches for 152 yards. The 10-year veteran jumped past Raymond Berry, Ozzie Newsome and Don Maynard into fourth place on the list of the NFL's all-time receivers with 636 catches.
Rypien, who was benched three weeks ago because of his fumbling, helped Washington register 35 first downs and 492 yards.
"I think I threw the ball as good as I ever have," Rypien said. Washington (6-6) used a 24-0 second half to keep its slim playoff hopes alive.
"This was one of our best efforts, and it couldn't have come at a better time," Redskin Coach Joe Gibbs said.
Not so for Chicago, which lost its sixth game in the last eight.
"This is not a good football team," Ditka said. "I fooled myself into thinking we were. We were clearly outclassed today."
The Redskins pulled out of a 14-14 tie by scoring 10 points within 2:02 of the third quarter. After Chip Lohmiller kicked a 28-yard field goal, Washington's Joe Howard recovered an onside kick at midfield.
Four plays later, Rypien tossed an 18-yard strike to Monk in the left corner of the end zone to make it 24-14 with 2:33 left in the period.
After a Chicago punt, Washington marched 71 yards in nine plays to increase the margin to 31-14. The key play was a 26-yard pass from Rypien to Gary Clark, and the score came on a nine-yard toss from Rypien to Monk with 10:22 left.
The Redskins opened the game with a drive that lasted more than six minutes but ended in a missed field goal.
Moments later, however, Rypien orchestrated another lengthy march that produced the game's first points.
After converting three third downs plays with two passes and a quarterback sneak, Rypien ended the 80-yard, 13-play drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Don Warren early in the second quarter.
The Redskins made it 14-0 with 10:54 left in the half when Rypien hooked up with Clark for a five-yard touchdown, just five plays after Monte Coleman recovered Neal Anderson's fumble at the Chicago 33.
Then, in an instant, the Bears got back into the game. Thomas Sanders took the subsequent kickoff at his own four, dodged a tackler at the 40 and sprinted the rest of the way for a 96-yard score.
Five plays later, Chicago had the ball again after Rypien's fumble and the Bears took advantage of the turnover.
Moving from the Redskin 40, Chicago notched its second score in the span of 4:18 when Mike Tomczak threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Dennis McKinnon.