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Moss Stays Focused On Present, Not Past




Over a span of 3:46 last Sept. 19 at Dallas, Mark Brunell and Santana Moss changed the direction of the Redskins' entire program and added another dramatic tale to the 46 years of Redskins versus Cowboys.

Moss, a Pro Bowler in 2005, naturally is proud of those two touchdowns he hauled in, covering 39 and 70 yards, to shock the Cowboys on a night when Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irving went into the ring of fame at Texas Stadium.

At the same time, though, Moss is looking ahead to Sunday night and the next installment in the NFL's most intense rivalry.

"I try not to worry about the past. I try and always look ahead," said the speedy wide receiver, now in his second season in Washington. "I'm thankful that it happened last season at Dallas, but it's a new year and I'm trying to do bigger and better things."

Continued Moss: "We have a lot of weapons. My concern is not worrying about what the Cowboys are trying to do. I'm just trying to go out there and be the guy who can get open and get some good looks for some other guys just so we can get a victory."

Of course, Dallas's defense will hope to stuff Moss and make sure he doesn't produce another big game. Like most teams last year, they could roll coverage in his direction to make sure he doesn't get behind the defensive backs and produce a big play.

The Cowboys' defense is a quick unit and the secondary is one of the league's best with cornerbacks Terence Newman and Anthony Henry and safety Roy Williams.

Earlier this week, Moss was asked if he thinks he can repeat his big-time plays in Dallas.

He responded: "We're looking for a big-time win. One play is not going to get it done. We're looking for a win. One or two plays are not going to get you a win. Last year we were fortunate that it did, but you can't go out there and bank on that again.

"I would never want to be put in that situation again and have to dig that deep late. I would like to get it out of the way early."

The Redskins acquired Moss from the New York Jets in 2005 for his big-play capability, but the truth of the matter is that Moss probably exceeded expectations.

Depending on spectacular moves and incredible speed, Moss produced a record-breaking season that helped return the Redskins to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Moss broke the franchise record for the most receiving yards in a season with 1,483, eclipsing Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell's mark of 1,436 which had stood since 1963.

The Pro Bowler scored nine touchdowns and led the team in receptions with 84. The eye-popping stat for the acrobatic Moss in 2005 was his 17.7 yards per catch.

In Gibbs' first year back in 2004, the Redskin offense had been woefully lacking in playmakers. Moss took care of that in his first game as a Redskin; his 52-yard reception in a 9-7 win over Chicago was longer than any pass play by a receiver the year before. Moss would catch balls of 52 yards or more in five of his 16 games last year.

None were bigger than the pair Moss orchestrated with Brunell in the final minutes of Week 2 at Dallas. Playing before a Monday Night Football audience, the Redskins were realistically one play from being shut out as they trailed 13-0 and faced 4th-and-15 with less than four minutes left.

In the next 71 seconds, Moss would haul in two touchdown receptions that would shock the Cowboys, ending a nine-game Washington losing streak at Dallas. Those two plays managed to jump-start the Redskins' season.

"When you give players that make plays a chance, all they can do is come up big," Moss said of the sequence.

He finished the Dallas game with a career-high 159 yards, a mark he would break at Kansas City in October when he amassed 173 yard on a career-tying 10 receptions.

In the playoffs, Moss was limited to two catches for 18 yards in the 17-10 win at Tampa Bay. He was back to his old tricks in the Seattle post-season game as he hauled in seven balls for 103 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown brought Washington to within 17-10 but the Redskins fell 20-10.

In 2006, teams will not have the luxury of focusing exclusively on Moss after the Redskins acquired two more big-play receivers in the offseason: Antwaan Randle El from Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh and Brandon Lloyd from San Francisco.

"At the end of last season, Santana was really forced to get open and it was a big strain on him," said Redskins wide receivers coach Stan Hixon. "He's really excited about these two new additions. He knows it's going to make it even better for him."

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