Redskins Beat Eagles 20-12
Tuesday, September 18th 2007, 7:44 am
By: News On 6
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The Washington Redskins believe they are ready to be kings of the NFC East.
The best way to prove it is by knocking off the incumbent, which they did Monday night with a superb mixture of big plays on offense and defense. Led by maturing quarterback Jason Campbell and hard-hitting safeties Sean Taylor and rookie LaRon Landry, they beat the Philadelphia Eagles 20-12.
Speaking for the offense, which got touchdowns from Clinton Portis and Chris Cooley and two field goals by Shaun Suisham, Campbell said:
``In the NFL, you can't be one-dimensional, you've got to be able to do both things, you've got to be able to run and pass. I thought our guys did an outstanding job once we got our rhythm. I thought our guys did an outstanding job picking up the big plays.''
And representing the defense, Landry added: ``We went out there and executed well. We played sound defense.''
Sound enough to keep every Eagle except Brian Westbrook off-balance.
The surprising Redskins, coming off a 5-11 season, are 2-0 and tied with Dallas atop the NFC East, which Philadelphia was expected to dominate.
``Philly has been the king of this division for so long,'' said Washington's new middle linebacker, London Fletcher. ``I think these guys have got to get used to winning and beating good teams. Beating good teams like this only adds to your confidence.''
The Eagles are 0-2 and their offense, other than the dynamic Westbrook, has been far too spotty. Westbrook rushed for 96 yards and caught eight passes for another 66 yards.
Westbrook's work wasn't enough to get Philadelphia into the end zone, however, as an array of blitzes and some hard hitting by the Redskins' secondary kept Donovan McNabb off-balance much of the night.
McNabb has lost six of his last seven starts and is 9-12 since the Eagles lost the Super Bowl to New England in January 2005. Though he finished 28-for-46 for 240 yards, some of his misguided passes weren't close to the target.
``We didn't win the game, so I didn't play well. If I'm out there, I have to make plays,'' McNabb said. ``We have to find out what we're doing wrong and correct it.''
Campbell didn't have gaudy statistics _ 16-for-29 for 209 yards _ but he kept the Redskins on the move when it counted with sharp passes and timely third-down conversions.
``You take advantage of the plays that are given to you and then the others will come,'' receiver Santana Moss said. ``You can't try to make plays that are not there, and he didn't.
``We as an offense can even do a lot more to make him great.''
After Suisham's third field goal, a 37-yarder, put Washington on top 13-6, David Akers matched it with a 26-yarder later in the third quarter.
Then Washington's mastery on third down _ it went 8-for-15 _ helped it to the winning score, a 6-yard run by Portis early in the fourth period. Campbell calmly found Cooley for 9 yards on third-and-8, and hit Todd Yoder, Cooley's backup, for 18 on third-and-10.
Philly lost safety Brian Dawkins, its defensive leader, with a neck stinger on the play that moved the ball to the Philadelphia 6. Then Portis swept left for the decisive points.
Portis wound up with 69 yards rushing and Campbell added 39, but it was his maturity in tight situations that stood out.
As did Washington's hard-hitting defense, including a pass rush that got to McNabb three times and pressured him all game.
``It's not all Donovan. It's everybody pulling together around him,'' coach Andy Reid said. ``We're off by a hair. Once we get that straightened out, we'll be fine.''
The biggest cheer of the night by the 67,726 fans might have been in the first quarter, which ended 3-0 for the Redskins. It came when recently re-signed Reno Mahe caught a punt.
The Eagles lost their opener at Green Bay in great part because Greg Lewis and J. R. Reed fumbled attempting to field punts. That cost Philadelphia 10 points and prompted the Eagles to bring back Mahe, their regular punt returner in recent years. He had no trouble catching the ball Monday night.
Suisham's 35-yard field goal as the first period ended gave Washington the lead, but the Eagles came back for two field goals by Akers, from 24 and 39 yards. Westbrook set up the first by gaining 42 yards on two runs, and William James' interception at the Washington 39 led to the other kick.
Other than Westbrook, Philly's offense was pretty much a washout, and that gave the Redskins a chance to grab a halftime lead. Campbell led a 73-yard drive in the final 1:43, highlighted by his 17-yard run to the Eages 18.
Following a strange sequence that began at the 1 _ the Redskins spiked the ball on first down, yet wound up with a delay of game on the next play, then consecutive motion penalties on guard Jason Fabini _ Campbell floated a perfect pass to Cooley in the left corner of the end zone with 9 seconds left for a 10-6 lead.
``He was the second read on that play,'' Campbell said. ``James Thrash did a good job running his route, trying to get the corner to bite and Cooley did a great job beating the safety.''