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Portis Nears Milestones, But His Focus Is Winning


The last time the Redskins played at Detroit's Ford Field, Clinton Portis helped take down the Lions with his arm as well as with his legs.


On Nov. 7 of 2004, his first season in Washington, Portis rushed 34 times for 147 yards. But the enduring image from that game is one of Slingin' C.P., finding Laveranues Coles with a 15-yard TD lob. The Redskins edged Detroit 17-10.

This Sunday, when the Redskins return to Ford Field with a chance to go 6-2 at the halfway mark of the season, Portis can has an opportunity to pursue more milestones.

He can even go after one of O.J. Simpson's NFL marks.

Portis has gained at least 120 yards in four consecutive games and needs another 120 this week against Detroit to become only the second player in NFL history with 120 rushing yards in five consecutive games twice in a career. Simpson did it twice, in 1973 and 1975, with Buffalo.

Portis previously accomplished the feat in his final four games of 2003 with Denver and posted his fifth consecutive 120-yard game in 2004 when he joined Washington.

Portis is approaching the point in his Redskins career where he'll be etching his name in record books, both with the franchise and the NFL.

Records might have mattered to him a few years ago, but now winning games is what counts.

"All the personal stats, wanting to do this and wanting to do that--that is out for me," he said. "I want to win. It does not matter if I have 175 yards or 75 yards, if we come out with a win, I come out with a smile on my face."

Asked if he feels as though he's running the ball the best he ever has in his seven-year NFL career, Portis dismissed the idea.

"I just take it how it comes," he said. "I feel like I'm getting an opportunity. The line is blocking great and I'm following my blocks. I'm making the right reads. This year, I'm making sure I'm at the right depth and I'm making my right read and going from there."

The NFL's leading rusher with 818 yards and seven TDs can also equal his Redskins mark of breaking the 100-yard rushing total in five consecutive games.

Ladell Betts did that in 2006, Portis himself in 2005 and Rob Goode all the way back in 1951.

Comparing the 2005 Redskins running game to that of 2008, the 5-11, 223-pound Portis said: "Back in 2005, we had a dangerous running game. There were no ifs, ands or buts about it: we were running the ball and you had to come out and stop us.

"But right now, I feel we're in a position where we can do anything. We can run the ball and we can pass the ball."

Portis has already established a Redskins franchise record for most 100-yard rushing games in Redskins history. He has 23 100-yard rushing games as a Redskin, surpassing the previous mark of 19 held by Brown and John Riggins.

This season, Portis has often been asked to compare himself to his heady days in Denver from 2002-03 to the franchise running back he has become in Washington.

Back then, he was a sparkplug for a multi-faceted Broncos offense. He rushed for 3,099 yards and 29 touchdowns in two seasons there.

Now, in Washington, his role has more significance.

"I think I have changed for the better, and that's to do what is asked of me," he said. "I think I have changed into the leadership role of carrying the team and putting the team on my shoulders.

"When I was in Denver, I didn't carry the organization. That organization had great names and great people. Shannon Sharpe and Rod Smith and Eddie McCaffery and Brian Griese--all of those guys were the focal point at that time.

"Now I've come here and helped carry an organization as the focal point, helped mold young guys and keep my teammates involved."

His leadership and team-first approach can best be seen in his pass blocking. He loves to level a rushing defensive lineman, much like he did when he knocked down Giants defensive end Matthias Kiawanuka in Week 1.

"I feel like I'm the last line of defense for Jason Campbell," he said. "I feel like even when it's not my carry, I have an assignment to help makinig sure someone gets free or block."

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