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Portis, Offense Come Up Short Against Bengals



Jim Zorn huddled on the sidelines at Paul Brown Stadium, surrounded by Clinton Portis, Mike Sellers and offensive coordinator Sherman Smith.

The Redskins found themselves trailing the Cincinnati Bengals 17-0 midway through the second quarter--and it was time for adjustments.

On the Redskins' first five possessions at Paul Brown Stadium, the offense had a turnover and four consecutive 3-and-outs. It took 21 minutes of game time for the offense to pick up a first down.

After Zorn's impromptu meeting, the Redskins started with excellent field position at the Bengals' 40-yard line.

Portis had four consecutive carries to gain 23 yards and--finally--move the Redskins into scoring range.

On 3rd-and-4 at the Bengals' 10-yard line, Jason Campbell fired a 10-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss in the back of the end zone.

The meeting and the subsequent touchdown drive seemed to provide a spark for the Redskins' struggling offense.

It proved to be the only spark on a dismal afternoon for Redskins football.

The Redskins lost to the Bengals 20-13, dropping to 7-7 on the season. The Bengals earned just their second win of the season.

Portis began the week with some controversial comments about Zorn on "The John Thompson Show" on ESPN 980. Portis was frustrated with his role in the offense in the 24-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 7.

Portis was once again the featured back for the Bengals game, but running room was tough to come by.

In the first quarter, Portis had just 11 yards on six carries.

Following the sideline meeting with Zorn, Portis picked up the pace.

He contributed on the Redskins' second scoring driving, gaining 14 yards to help set up a 23-yard field goal.

For the game, Portis rushed for 77 yards on 25 carries, a 3.1 yards-per-carry average. He also caught one pass for six yards, but had one dropped pass on a screen late in the fourth quarter.

As a team, the Redskins compiled 113 rushing yards.

In the second half, the Redskins were forced to pass the ball more often, although Portis still got his share of carries.

He had a key 10-yard run midway through the third quarter to help get the Redskins in position for a score.

That drive was ultimately thwarted when Sellers fumbled trying to cross the goal line on a 1-yard plunge.

It was one of two fumbles in the game for the Redskins.

Said Portis after the game: "We've got to find a way to win. The loss was [the players'] fault. We've got to go out there and execute better. You can't put this on the coaches. That was us on the field.

"They won the turnover battle. They converted on third down and managed clock control in the fourth quarter. Those are the ways to win games, and that's what they did."

Added Campbell: "We anticipated that we would play at a high level and put some points on the board, but we came up short. One thing you know about games in the NFL: turnovers will always get you.

"We have to prevent those so we can be in a good position and not have to come back."

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