The Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles were headed in opposite directions, or so it seemed.
Heading into Sunday's game at FedExField, the Redskins had lost three consecutive games while the Eagles were riding a three-game winning streak.
The Redskins rose to the occasion, though. They stymied Philadelphia, winning 10-3 to end their three-game skid and put a damper on the Eagles' postseason hopes.
The victory improved the Redskins to 8-7 on the season. With the Atlanta Falcons also winning on Sunday, the Redskins were officially eliminated from the playoffs.
Against the Eagles, the Redskins' defense put in a sterling performance. The unit limited the Eagles to just 275 total yards, 62 rushing yards and 15 first downs.
They played hard to the finish, 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 on him and kept him out of the end zone.
The Eagles had no time outs left, and the clock dwindled to 0:00.
It was a relief for Zorn, who last week took responsibility for the Redskins' struggles in the second half of the season.
"The past several weeks have been really frustrating, but we continued to build, and build everywhere," Zorn said after the game. "Last week was a real downer, so you can't describe the emotion of toughing it out and actually coming through with a win.
"It took everybody. It took all three phases. We really had tremendous effort by everyone."
DeAngelo Hall led the defense in tackles with eight and he also broke up several passes in the fourth quarter.
Jason Taylor had two sacks and he forced a key fumble that was recovered by London Fletcher.
The turnover helped set up the Redskins' only touchdown of the game, a 1-yard plunge by Clinton Portis.
Portis had 22 carries for 70 yards to go along with his touchdown.
At the game's outset, neither team could generate momentum on offense.
Jason Campbell was sacked by defensive end Victor Abiamiri to end the Redskins' opening drive of the game.
Then, on a 3rd-and-1 play, Portis was stopped for no gain on a sweep to the right.
On defense, Fletcher broke up a pass across the middle to wide receiver Jason Avant to end one drive.
Then Taylor sacked McNabb to end another drive.
The Redskins got the ball midway through the second quarter and put together a methodical drive, using a mix of run and pass.
Campbell completed a 12-yard pass to Moss, an 11-yard pass to Portis to move across midfield and a 10-yard pass to Ladell Betts to get into scoring range.
Campbell's 3rd-and-4 pass into the end zone was broken up, so the Redskins had to settle for another field goal attempt.
Suisham's 33-yard field goal split the uprights to give the Redskins a 3-0 lead. The drive consumed nearly nine minutes of game clock in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, the Redskins' defense got off to a fast start when Landry leveled wide receiver DeSean Jackson, breaking up a pass across the middle.
Then Taylor got around right tackle Jon Runyan and sacked McNabb, knocking the ball loose.
The ball bounced into Fletcher's arms. He raced 12 yards to the Eagles' 18-yard line.
It proved to be a momentum-changing play.
Four plays later, the Redskins converted the turnover into a 1-yard touchdown run by Portis, who followed strong blocking by Pete Kendall and Stephon Heyer into the end zone.
The Eagles responded on their next drive when McNabb connected with running back Brian Westbrook on a 47-yard pass to the 12-yard line.
Westbrook found himself in a matchup with Lorenzo Alexander and sped into open field to haul in the pass along the left sideline.
But the Redskins' defense kept the Eagles out of the end zone, as Chris Horton stopped Westbrook a yard short of a first down at the 6-yard line.
Philadelphia had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by David Akers, their only points of the game.
In the fourth quarter, the Eagles had four consecutive opportunities to drive downfield, but each time the Redskins forced a 3-and-out.
The Eagles were plagued by dropped passes, but the Redskins' secondary had the wide receivers well-covered, too.
Hall tackled tight end L.J. Smith to end one drive. Then Hall broke up a pass to Jackson to end another drive.
Later, Chris Wilson chased a scrambling McNabb out of bounds to end a third drive.
Despite good field position, the Redskins' offense could not generate any rhythm, either. Four possessions, four punts for Campbell and company.
With 3:48 left, the Eagles had one last opportunity to drive downfield and tie the game.
Of course, it was also an opportunity for the Redskins--particularly Landry and Smoot on the game's last play--to prove themselves again.
After two road games against the AFC North, the Redskins return to FedExField to take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Dec. 21. Kickoff is 4:15 p.m. ET.
FedExField has a natural grass surface. The stadium seats 91,704.
The Redskins are 3-4 in home games this season. They have lost three consecutive consecutive home games and four of their last five at FedExField.
The Eagles are in third place in the NFC East with an 8-5-1 record. The Redskins are 7-7, in last place in the division.
The Redskins are 2-3 against the NFC East this season. In Week 5, they defeated the Eagles 23-17 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Both teams are still alive for a Wild Card playoff berth with two games left in the regular season.
The Redskins are coming off a 20-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. They have lost five of their past six games.
The Eagles defeated the Cleveland Browns 30-10 on Monday Night Football for their third consecutive win.
The game will be televised to on FOX. Joe Buck does the play-by-play with color commentary by Troy Aikman. Pam Oliver is the sideline reporter.
On radio, the game will be broadcast locally on ESPN 980. Larry Michael handles the play-by-play with color commentary by Hall of Famers Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff. Rick "Doc" Walker serves as sideline reporter.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
|WR||89 Santana Moss||86 Reggie Brown|
|LT||74 Stephon Heyer||72 Tra Thomas|
|LG||66 Pete Kendall||79 Todd Herremans|
|C||61 Casey Rabach||67 Jamaal Jackson|
|RG||77 Randy Thomas||59 Nick Cole|
|RT||69 Jason Fabini||69 Jon Runyan|
|TE||47 Chris Cooley||82 L.J. Smith|
|WR||82 Antwaan Randle El||10 DeSean Jackson|
|QB||17 Jason Campbell||5 Donovan McNabb|
|FB||45 Mike Sellers||49 Dan Klecko|
|RB||26 Clinton Portis||36 Brian Westbrook|
|DE||55 Jason Taylor||75 Juqua Parker|
|DT||96 Cornelius Griffin||98 Mike Patterson|
|DT||94. A. Montgomery||97 Broderick Bunkley|
|DE||92 Demetric Evans||58 Trent Cole|
|SLB||53 Marcus Washington||57 Chris Gocong|
|MLB||59 London Fletcher||55 Stewart Bradley|
|WLB||52 Rocky McIntosh||56 Akeem Jordan|
|LCB||23 DeAngelo Hall||22 Asante Samuel|
|RCB||24 Shawn Springs||24 Sheldon Brown|
|SS||48 Chris Horton||27 Quintin Mikell|
|FS||30 LaRon Landry||20 Brian Dawkins|
|P||1 Ryan Plackemeier||6 Sav Rocca|
|K||6 Shaun Suisham||2 David Akers|
|H||1 Ryan Plackemeier||6 Sav Rocca|
|LS||67 Ethan Albright||46 Jon Dorenbos|
|KOR||31 Rock Cartwright||39 Quintin Demps|
|PR||82 Antwaan Randle El||10 DeSean Jackson|
The Redskins and Eagles have met a total of 148 times over their long rivalry, which dates back to 1934. They have played a home-and-home series every year since 1936.
The Redskins hold the series edge at 77-66-6, but since 2000, the Eagles have won 11 of 17 games.
In Week 5 earlier this season, the Redskins defeated the Eagles 23-17 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Clinton Portis rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown, part of a 203-yard rushing day for the Redskins' offense. Washington limited Philadelphia to 254 total yards and held running back Brian Westbrook to 33 rushing yards.
Chris Cooley caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Antwaan Randle El as the Redskins came back from a 14-0 first quarter deficit
The two teams split both games in 2007. It was the 28th time that the Redskins and Eagles split their season series.
In Week 2, the Redskins defeated the Eagles 20-12 at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday Night Football.
Philadelphia returned the favor in Week 10, as the Eagles staged a furious fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Redskins 33-25 at FedExField.
The Redskins and Eagles have clashed once in the postseason, with Washington winning 20-6 on Jan. 4, 1990 at Veterans Stadium in the Wild Card playoff round.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|REDSKINS 2008 RANKINGS|
|EAGLES 2008 RANKINGS|
FAMILIAR FACES ON THE EAGLES
Kicker David Akers played for the Redskins in 1998. His first NFL game was with the Redskins, on Sept. 20, 1998 vs. Seattle.
Defensive end Chris Clemons played for the Redskins from 2003-05. He joined the Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 2005.
Pro scout Louis Riddick served as director of pro personnel and pro scout with the Redskins from 2001-07.
REDSKINS-EAGLES NEWS & NOTES
-- Zorn's First Season As Head Coach
Jim Zorn is 7-7 in his first 14 games as head coach. He is aiming to lead the Redskins to their third winning season in the last four years.
Zorn is looking to become the seventh Redskins head coach to record a winning record in his first year at the helm. He needs to win the Redskins' final two regular season games to accomplish the feat.
The list of first-year head coaches with winning records includes Ray Flaherty (7-5 in 1936), Dutch Bergman (6-3-1 in 1943), Dudley DeGroot (6-3-1 in 1944), Dick Todd (5-4 in 1951), Vince Lombardi (7-5-2 in 1969) and George Allen (9-4-1 in 1971).
Seven first-year Redskins head coaches finished their rookie campaign with a .500 mark, while 12 finished with a losing record.
Like Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, Jim Zorn made the jump from quarterbacks coach to head coach.
Reid was named head coach of the Eagles in 1999 after he was quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers.
Zorn was named head coach of the Redskins last February after he was quarterbacks coach of the Seattle Seahawks.
-- Portis Runneth Over
Clinton Portis is ranked third in the NFL with 1,337 rushing yards, trailing only Minnesota's Adrian Peterson and Atlanta's Michael Turner.
Portis is second in the NFL with 1,544 yards from scrimmage and second in rushing first downs with 66. He is tied for the league lead with 76 total first downs.
Portis rushed for at least 120 yards in five straight games from Weeks 4-8 and in doing so became the seocnd player in NFL history to accomplish the feat twice in a career. (He also did it in the final four games of the 2003 season with the Denver Broncos and in the 2004 season opener with the Redskins.) Buffalo's O.J. Simpson rushed for at least 120 yards in five straight games in both 1973 and 1975.
The Redskins are 5-1 when Portis surpasses the 100-yard rushing mark. In Week 5 against Philadelphia, he totaled 145 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries in the Redskins' 23-17 win at Lincoln Financial Field.
Washington's 132.0 rushing yards per game this season ranks eighth in the NFL.
The unit gets stronger as the game goes on. The Redskins' 477 rushing yards in the fourth quarter are the 10th-best in the league.
-- Westbrook Brothers
Redskins defensive back Byron Westbrook, on the club's practice squad, is the brother of Eagles running back Brian Westbrook.
They both hail from Washington, D.C., and attended DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md.
Byron, 5-10 and 202 pounds, earned a practice squad spot on the Redskins for the second year in a row. He often serves as his brother on the scout team during Redskins practices.
Westbrook was asked last year if there was any downside to being Brian's brother.
"The only negative thing is that people expect me to fill his shoes," Westbrook said. "But I'm not a running back, I'm a cornerback. I play on a defense. I'm trying to hit him."
He added with a smile: "And if I'm on the Redskins, I'd have the chance to get back at him two times a year for the 22 years he's been punishing me since I was a baby."
-- Thrash an Eagle and a Redskin
Redskins wide receiver James Thrash has alternated between Philadelphia and Washington in his NFL career.
Thrash signed with the Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent in 1997. He was then picked up by the Redskins following the 1997 preseason.
Thrash signed with the Eagles in 2001 as an unrestricted free agent. He led the Eagles' receiving corps with 49 receptions in 2003.
In 2004, Thrash was traded to the Redskins for a fifth-round draft pick.
Thrash had his best game against the Eagles in Week 10 last year. He caught five passes for 85 yards, including 4-yard and 12-yard touchdown catches in the first half.
-- Smith's Specials
Washington's kickoff units, led by special teams coach Danny Smith, have been among the league's best in 2008.
The Redskins' kickoff team has allowed opponents an average starting field position of the 26.0-yard line, the eighth best mark in the league.
The kickoff return team also ranks eighth in the NFL with an average starting field position of the 29.0-yard line.
Smith coached special teams in Philadelphia from 1995-96, then switched to defensive backs coach for the Eagles from 1997-98.
Smith coached in Philadelphia under Ray Rhodes, who was the Redskins' defensive coordinator in 2000.
-- McNabb vs. the Redskins
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb has an all-time record of 10-6 in games against the Redskins.
McNabb has completed 59 percent of his passes vs. Washington, for 3,303 yards, 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His QB rating: 85.4.
McNabb has compiled 535 rushing yards and three touchdowns against the Redskins. In the last six games in the series, McNabb has rushed for 84 yards on 18 carries.
-- NFC East Record
The four teams of the NFC East have combined for a 35-20-1 record. Their cumulative record is the second best among the NFL's eight divisions, trailing only the NFC South (36-20 record).
The NFC East clubs have a mark of 26-11-1 outside of the division.
In addition, the NFC East and NFC South are the only divisions to have all four of their teams post a .500 record or better.
-- Time of Possession
The Redskins hold a 31:21-28:39 time of possession advantage over opponents this season. This margin ranks 10th in the NFL and fifth in the NFC.
The Redskins are 6-1 when they have the ball longer than their opponents and 1-6 when they do not.
In Week 5 at Philadelphia, the Redskins held a 34:45-25:15 time of possession advantage in their 23-17 win over the Eagles.
-- Blache And Reid
Greg Blache and Eagles head coach Andy Reid worked on the same staff in Green Bay from 1992-93.
From 1992-93, Blache coached Green Bay's defensive line under then Packers head coach Mike Holmgren.
Also on that coaching staff were future NFL head coaches Andy Reid, Dick Jauron, Ray Rhodes, Steve Mariucci and Jon Gruden.
Blache also coached with Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson while with the Jacksonville Bulls of the USFL in 1985 and the Indianapolis Colts froom 1994-97.
-- Redskins Captains
The Redskins have elected six players as captains for the 2008 season. They wear a black "C" on their jersey during games.
On offense, Jason Campbell amd Chris Samuels are the captains.
On defense, Cornelius Griffin and London Fletcher are the captains.
On special teams, Rock Cartwright and Khary Campbell are the captains.
-- What's Next?
The Redskins close out the regular season in San Francisco with a game against the 49ers. Kickoff is 4:15 p.m. ET.
It's the Redskins' first visit to San Francisco since 2004.