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News & Notes: Portis Sets Team Mark

Clinton Portis finished Saturday's 35-20 win over the New York Giants with 108 rushing yards on 27 carries. It was the eighth time this season that Portis had rushed for 100 or more yards, which sets a franchise record.

The previous record was held by Rob Goode, who had seven 100-yard rushing games in 1951.

Portis is also on the verge of another record. With 1,404 rushing yards this season, he is just 29 yards from breaking Stephen Davis's 2001 single-season rushing mark of 1,432.

Portis gave the credit to his offensive line, especially on his 19-yard touchdown run in which he broke outside and out-ran the defenders to the goal line.

"The whole game, the Giants were cutting off the backside when we were trying to run straight," he said. "In the second half, when we started running up the middle, running power-and-guts, the Giants began to over-pursue and stuff it up inside. I knew if I pressed long enough, running outside would work."

Portis added a touchdown pass to his repertoire on Saturday, throwing a 17-yarder to Chris Cooley in the second quarter. It was his second pass attempt of the 2005 season; he threw an incompletion in the Week 13 game at St. Louis in early December.

Portis also threw a touchdown pass in the 2004 season. He threw a touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles on a halfback option in Detroit.


At mid-season, when the Redskins' defense had forced just a handful of fumbles and interceptions, assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams predicted that turnovers would come in a bunch.

Williams was right. In the last four games, the Redskins have forced 11 turnovers, including Lemar Marshall's interception in the first half of Saturday's 35-20 win over the New York Giants.

The interception, the third for Marshall this season, led to a touchdown. Marshall, who now leads the Redskins in interceptions, stepped in front of tight end Jeremy Shockey for the pick.

Said Williams: "The big key is that we now we aren't missing those opportunities for turnovers. They have been there in every game, but we didn't execute or make the play to finish the deal. In the past three weeks, we've actually caught balls that we had been dropping.

"We've been causing fumbles, but we hadn't gotten them to bounce back to us. It's been nice to see that we've been able to scoop a couple of those up in critical situations. The good defenses, down the stretch, also in sub-par weather situations, shorten the field for the offense and provide scoring opportunities for the offense. They even provide points by scoring themselves. We hope that continues. It's a good trend right now."

Overall, the Redskins' defense was aggressive against the Giants. After Tiki Barber had rushed for 206 yards in the Week 8 game between the two teams, the Redskins bore down and held him to 80 yards on 16 carries. Thirty-one of those yards came late in the game when the Giants were frantically trying to come back and the Redskins were mostly defending the pass.

Giants' quarterback Eli Manning was pressured often, with Phillip Daniels recording a sack. Sean Taylor led the defense with eight tackles, followed by LaVar Arrington with six.

"Instead of playing more zone coverage and sitting back, we decided we had to get to [Manning] today," Marshall said. "We had the crowd to our advantage, so we figured we might as well send as much pressure as possible."


The Redskins wrapped up a 4-0 record in December. Head coach Joe Gibbs now has a remarkable 40-14 record in the month.

Asked why Gibbs has been so successful in December, Gregg Williams said" "It comes down to a lot of conditioning. It comes down to a lot of character, leadership and toughness on your football team. If you trace back all of the teams that Joe Gibbs has coached, they've been tremendously tough, with a lot of energy and strong character players."

Added offensive lineman Ray Brown, who played for Gibbs from 1989-92 and last season: "December is winning time. We're trying to play to get into the playoffs. It's a great opportunity for this football team. Also, coming off of last year, Coach Gibbs really wanted to emphasize 'Let's be playing for some meaningful games in December.' Sure enough, we got it."


Right guard Randy Thomas, whose season ended due to a fractured fibula in last Sunday's 35-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys, was named a team captain for the Giants game.

On crutches, Thomas was on the field for the coin toss alongside co-offensive captain Robert Royal, defensive captain Renaldo Wynn and special teams captain Rock Cartwright. Thomas watched the game from the owner's box at FedExField.

-- FROM 36-0 TO 35-20

The Redskins went into Saturday's contest looking to avenge the 36-0 drubbing at the hands of the New York Giants on Oct. 30. In the weeks since that game, some players have referred to it as an aberration.

Simply put, that game did not represent Redskins football.

"They had a lot going on in the last game," running back Clinton Portis said. "We had 21 or 22 negative plays, as far as sacks, penalties, turnovers and missed assignments. Out of those 21 plays, they capitalized on a lot of them. We know that wasn't Redskins football. Lately, we've been playing Redskins football."

Gregg Williams said turnovers played a key part in allowing the Giants to build a big lead.

"There were a lot of things that took place in that ballgame from a field position standpoint," Williams said. "All of a sudden, when you get points on the board, good football teams minimize the risks they take and make sure that they keep the ball on the ground. When we turned the ball over that much in the last ballgame, you're going to play a lot of plays on defense because the offense isn't going to have the plays they normally have.

"We did not play as well as we needed to play defensively. Our guys were chomping at the bit to get back out there to see if that was the real us or not."

Even Tiki Barber had expected a tougher game the second time around. He got it.

"I don't think anyone in this league is 36 points better than any other team," Barber said last week. "Games usually come down to field goals or touchdowns in the fourth quarter. That's the mentality we took coming into this game."

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