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Redskins' Defense Plays To the End



London Fletcher gathered his linebackers in the FedExField tunnel at pre-game.

He issued a charged-up speech, imploring his teammates to defend their home stadium and win at FedExField one last time before the season comes to an end.

Fletcher's emotion transferred over to the rest of the defense, as the Redskins held the Philadelphia Eagles without a touchdown on Sunday in a 10-3 win.

"The energy was great," Fletcher said. "You could tell the difference all the way from our pre-game warm-ups to the end of the game. We just played with a tremendous amount of energy throughout the entire game, and came out with a victory."

The defense had to play until the game's final snap, too.

With 3:48 left in the game, the Eagles got the ball back and drove downfield for a chance to a tie the game.

Twelve seconds left, quarterback Donovan McNabb lofted a pass to wide receiver Reggie Brown at the goal line.

Brown caught the ball, but LaRon Landry and Fred Smoot converged and kept him out of the end zone. Landry went high, Smoot went low, in a jarring hit on Brown.

The Eagles had no time outs left, and the clock dwindled to 0:00. Game over.

It appeared Brown had a chance--mid-air--to push the ball across the goal line. Replay showed otherwise.

"I thought the game was over because from my vantage point I thought it was about three yards short," head coach Jim Zorn said. "Then they wanted to review it. I asked LaRon and he said, 'No way.'"

Landry had the play read perfectly.

"I knew they could not throw another check-down, because it would have run the time out, so I knew they weren't going to [Brian] Westbrook," Landry said. "They needed a touchdown, so I just played at the goal line. I saw [Brown] turn his shoulder for the route and I just broke on it."

The play capped a game that was certainly one of Landry's best this season.

Playing free safety most of the game, Landry logged several jarring hits on Eagles wide receivers. He finished with five tackles and two passes defended in the game.

It's the second time in four games against Philadelphia that Landry has been involved in a game-ending tackle near the goal line. On Sept. 17, 2007, Landry tackled wide receiver Kevin Curtis--with another jarring hit--on a fourth down play to lead the Redskins' 20-12 win over the Eagles.

DeAngelo Hall also turned in a strong game on Sunday, leading the defense in tackles with eight. The Eagles tested Hall in the fourth quarter, and he responded by breaking up four passes.

"It was dangerous to be a wide receiver out there for the Eagles because LaRon was coming hard and he played tremendous," Zorn said. "I can't say enough about him. Our defense, especially in the secondary, did a great job covering some really good wide receivers.

"We were intimidating and it started with LaRon and DeAngelo having some great timing, just being there when the ball arrived."

Overall, the Redskins' defense yielded 275 total yards of offense and just 62 rushing yards. The Eagles converted just 3-of-14 third downs in the game.

Westbrook was not a big factor in the run game, logging just 12 carries for 45 yards. He did catch six passes for a team-high 71 yards.

In the pass rush, Taylor had two sacks of McNabb and a forced fumble that was recovered by Fletcher. The turnover helped set up the Redskins' only touchdown of the game, a 1-yard plunge by Clinton Portis.

The score provided the winning points of the game.

After the game, Fletcher said that defensive coordinator Greg Blache provided motivation for the Redskins' defense, ranked in the top 10 most of the season.

During a meeting at the Redskins' hotel on Saturday night, Blache showed a highlight video of some of the Redskins' best defensive plays this season.

Blache wanted to drive home the fact that the Redskins' defense is one of the best in the league.

"He showed us everything that we are, which really helped us with our confidence," Fletcher said.

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