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For Brunell, Off-season Work Pays Off

Redskins coaches have been saying for months that the team's off-season conditioning program was first rate and that the participation of the team's players was exceptional.

You saw evidence of that on Monday Night in the Redskins' quite unbelievable 14-13 win in front of a national TV audience at Texas Stadium.


Mark Brunell had an outstanding offseason in terms of his conditioning. You witnessed examples of that on Week 2 at Dallas with the game on the line.

It took a lot of courage to do what Brunell did against Bill Parcells' defense. It also took a superbly well-conditioned athlete.

What kind of person is Brunell in the locker room after games? He's always calm, cool and business-like. His demeanor is just what you want if you're heading into a hostile environment like Dallas. Most notably on third-and-27.

On an evening during which the Cowboys honored their famous triplets of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, the Redskins came up with a shocker of a win to put a damper on the homecoming atmosphere.

Cowboys' fans, 65,207 strong, began the night with anti-Redskins chants but by the end of the evening they were actually booing their own team.

Brunell's scramble on third-and-27 with 4:48 left turned the game around in dramatic fashion. Down 13-0, the Redskins appeared on their way to another setback in the series, which would have meant 15 losses to the Cowboys in the last 16 meetings.

"It wasn't pretty but this win showed what heart and character we have in this locker room," said Brunell. "Plus, we have some guys who can really make plays."

The largest crowd at Texas Stadium in 20 years saw Brunell take the snap at his own 21-yard line and look, unsuccessfully, for a receiver.

Instead, the 13-year NFL veteran pulled the ball down and scrambled for a 25-yard pickup. On fourth-and-2, he found James Thrash for a 20-yard gain to give the Redskins hope.

Then, in the final 3:46, Brunell delivered the two TD passes to Santana Moss that will go down in Redskins annals. They measured 39 and 70 yards.

"We put a lot into it this offseason," said linebacker Marcus Washington. "Tonight, I'm just proud to be a Redskin."

Head coach Joe Gibbs said the win at Dallas has to rank as one of his finest moments in sports. Gibbs added: "Our guys keep fighting. They never think they're out of it. They'll fight you on every down."

In their first two games, the Redskins have been dominant down the stretch, in wins over Chicago and Dallas.

That they look to be the stronger team in the fourth quarter is, in large part, a result of the off-season conditioning program at Redskin Park spearheaded by John "Mother" Dunn, John Hastings and Bobby Crumpler.

Of course, the Redskins have a bye on Week 3 and so they should be especially fresh when the Seattle Seahawks come to FedExField on Oct. 2.

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