Every game is a learning experience for Jason Campbell. But Sunday's game against Philadelphia is one that he will probably remember longer than most.
Campbell, making his fourth consecutive start for the Redskins and his first against an NFC East opponent, struggled against the Eagles in the first half. He threw two interceptions that led to two touchdowns and a 21-3 lead for Philadelphia.
In the second half, Campbell helped lead the Redskins' offense on three scoring drives--two field goals and one touchdown.
Washington narrowed the Eagles' lead to 21-19, but could not get closer.
Campbell finished the game completing 15-of-27 passes for 182 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was sacked twice and his QB rating was 57.9.
Campbell also showcased his mobility by rushing four times for 38 yards.
In leading the Redskins to a comeback, Campbell said he felt he began to establish some leadership on offense.
"I learned a lot, I grew a lot," Campbell said in his post-game comments. "Everybody is looking at you to see if you're a guy who's going to step in there and fight. I think my teammates had a lot of respect for me."
Said Ladell Betts, who compiled 171 rushing yards in the game: "Jason showed a lot of composure, and as our offensive leader his poise resonated through to us and allowed us to not hang our heads. We came out in the second half and battled, it just wasn't enough to get the win. This team has a lot of heart, and refuses to give up."
Midway through the first quarter, Campbell threw a pass to Santana Moss running a slant pattern. Rookie linebacker Omar Gaither stepped in front of the throw for an interception. Gaither returned it 16 yards to the Redskins' 31-yard line, and the Eagles punched the ball in the end zone four plays later.
Of the interception, Campbell credited Gaither.
"The linebacker did a good job of baiting me into it," Campbell said.
Campbell's second interception was off a tipped pass.
Campbell threw a sideline pass to Chris Cooley, but Eagles' cornerback William James tipped the ball away. Safety Michael Lewis was nearby and he grabbed the ball mid-air for the interception. Lewis had open field ahead. He out-raced the Redskins down the sideline for an 84-yard return for a touchdown.
Late in the first half, Campbell showed some resiliency when, down 21-3, he helped lead the Redskins on a scoring drive. Ladell Betts picked up 17 and 12 yards on two runs to move the ball into Eagles' territory.
Two false start penalties forced the Redskins in a 3rd-and-17 at the Eagles' 36-yard line. Campbell dumped off a pass to Betts in the flat for a 9-yard pickup, getting the Redskins back into field goal range. Shaun Suisham responded with a 45-yard field goal.
Down 21-6 at halftime, Campbell remained optimistic about the Redskins' chances in the second half.
"There was still a long time to play," he said. "I came into halftime feeling [optimistic]/. We were moving the ball well and the whole team believed that we could come back in the second half."
Campbell was 7-of-12 for 100 yards in the second half in leading the Redskins on the comeback trail. The offense stayed committed to Betts and the running attack and that helped set up play action.
Midway through the third quarter, Campbell faked a handoff to T.J. Duckett and threw a deep pass to Antwaan Randle El, who was matched one on one with cornerback Sheldon Brown. Randle El was able to get a step on Brown just before the ball arrived, and he pulled the ball in for a 34-yard touchdown.
The touchdown narrowed the Eagles' lead to 21-16. The Redskins added another field goal midway through the fourth quarter, but that was all the offense could muster. The Redskins were in the red zone three times on Sunday and came away with three field goals.
"It's tough when you have more than 400 yards on offense against a defense like Philly, who bring in a lot and play physical football," Campbell said. "The way we were moving the ball, it was frustrating not to come away with a victory.
"Right now we have to continue to keep punching and hope that things go our way. They made the plays on turnovers and we didn't."