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Defense Is Setting a 'High Standard' Again

For the second game in a row, Washington's defense got the better of the NFL's top passing offense.


Even though the Redskins didn't come out on the winning end on Sunday against the Green Bau Packers, the defense limited Brett Favre and company to just 188 passing yards.

Remarkably, the unit allowed 40 passing yards--and 82 total yards--in the second half, even as the Packers came back to win Sunday's game 17-14.

Favre, who completed 19-of-37 passes, was sacked twice and threw two interceptions, both to Sean Taylor. His first interception, early in the third quarter, set an NFL record for most career interceptions.

Beyond the numbers, it's clear that Gregg Williams' defense has returned to the standard set in 2004-05 when the unit was also among the best in the league.

Through Week 6, the Redskins' defense is ranked third in the NFL, allowing an average of 259 yards per game. The defense ranked fifth in NFL in passing yards allowed and sixth in run defense.

The defense has yielded 69 points, third-best in the league, and only five touchdowns through five games.

"We have such high standards defensively," London Fletcher said. "We don't want to allow opponents to get anything."

Added head coach Joe Gibbs: "I thought we did an outstanding job. I thought we hustled, played hard, played physical and got a lot of pressure [on Favre]."

The Redskins' defense allowed just three red zone scoring opportunities against the Packers, one week after allowing none in the 34-3 win over the Detroit Lions.

One of the Packers' red zone scoring opportunities came as a result of a Clinton Portis fumble deep in Redskins territory.

The defense responded, as Chris Wilson sacked Favre for a 12-yard loss on third down, forcing a field goal attempt. Mason Crosby's kick hit the upright: no good.

Another red zone series came after Favre connected with tight end Donald Lee on a 60-yard pass play. Lee broke a tackle and raced downfield before he was tackled by Taylor at the 3-yard line.

Running back DeShawn Wynn charged across the goal line for the touchdown.

"Maybe if we didn't give up the touchdown in the first quarter, and held them to three points there, it would have been a different ball game," Fletcher said. "But win or lose, you're always going to go back and say, 'I could have done this better.'"

Added Phillip Daniels: "Except for the one pass that got away from us, we had a great day against Favre. We were just a couple of plays away [from winning]. You wish you could have some plays back, but you don't get them back in this game."

Certainly, there are at least two plays that Taylor wants back.

He had an opportunity for two more interceptions in the first half, but the football slipped through his fingers both times.

Taylor made up for it with two interceptions in the second half.

"He really covers the field," Gibbs said of Taylor playing centerfield on deep balls. "There were times where that ball was thrown and you say, 'Hey, they have a chance here.' And he covers the field all the way to the inside to the outside. It's a real plus for us."

The Redskins will play several more highly rated passing offenses in the coming weeks.

The Arizona Cardinals, next Sunday's opponent is ranked 12th in the passing game, but they boast two of the league's top wide receivers in Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.

After that, the Redskins take on the New England Patriots, who are currently ranked No. 1 in passing offense. And in three weeks, it's the Dallas Cowboys, who are currently ranked third.

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