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Week 12: Saints 33, Redskins 30

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Gameday Graphic for Game on 12/6/2009

It was a game full of twists and turns, and the final twist proved to be heartbreak for the Redskins.

The Redskins were up to the task of upsetting the undefeated New Orleans Saints on Sunday at FedExField, but they could not seal the deal.

They surrendered a 10-point fourth quarter lead, missed a chip-shot field goal that would have clinched a win, and turned the ball over on their final two possessions.

The result was a 33-30 loss.

It was a miracle win for New Orleans, while Washington's season continued its freefall.

The Redskins dropped to 3-9 on the season. It was the third consecutive game they have lost in the final minutes after holding fourth quarter leads.

"This is hard," Jim Zorn admitted.

The Redskins outplayed the Saints most of the game and led 30-23 late in the fourth quarter.

Shaun Suisham's 23-yard field goal attempt would have sealed the win with 1:52 left, but the kick sailed wide right.

The Saints tied the game when quarterback Drew Brees connected with wide receiver Robert Meachem on a 53-yard touchdown pass with 1:27 left. Meachem burst past LaRon Landry in coverage and was wide open for the score.

Then, in overtime, Mike Sellers fumbled after catching a pass in the flat and the ball was recovered by cornerback Chris McAlister at the Redskins' 37-yard line.

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The Saints advanced to the Redskins' 1-yard line before kicker Garrett Hartley converted an 18-yard game-winning field goal.

The Redskins' offense produced its best performance of the season, posting 455 total yards and 367 passing yards.

Jason Campbell completed 30-of-42 passes for 367 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Pass protection was excellent--Campbell was not sacked and he had time to throw in the pocket all game.

Campbell's top target was Devin Thomas, who caught seven passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Fred Davis caught five passes for 53 yards and a touchdown and Santana Moss had five catches for 68 yards.

The Redskins entered Sunday's game with the league's top pass defense, allowing an average of 169.0 passing yards per game.

After a slow start, Brees picked apart the Redskins' secondary, completed 35-of-49 passes for 419 yards. Brees threw two touchdowns and his one interception was subsequently fumbled by the Redskins and returned by Meachem for a touchdown.

Meachem had a career day for the Saints, catching eight passes for 142 yards, including the game-tying touchdown.

It's easy to say no one gave the Redskins a chance on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints were widely regarded as the best team in the NFL. They had a seemingly unstoppable offense and an attacking defense led by former Redskins defensive coach Gregg Williams.

From the get-go, the Redskins seemed to play with a higher energy level.

And the offense put pressure on the Saints early in the first quarter.

Consecutive penalties against New Orleans--a 15-yarder on defensive end Will Smith for grabbing Rock Cartwright's face mask and a 32-yarder on cornerback Malcolm Jenkins for pass interference--gave the Redskins the ball at the Saints' 34-yard line.

Campbell threw to Devin Thomas for a 10-yard pickup to convert a 3rd-and-7, giving the offense a first down at the Saints' 5-yard line.

Two plays later, on 3rd-and-goal at the 8, Campbell dropped back and watched Fred Davis run a crossing pattern to the left. Campbell connected with Davis at the 3-yard line and he raced into the end zone ahead of two tacklers for a touchdown.

The Redskins got the ball back midway through the first quarter.

Campbell started to develop a rhythm as he moved the offense into Saints territory. He continued his connection with Davis, completing 12-yard and 15-yard passes to the second-year tight end.

Campbell tried to find Davis again on a 3rd-and-4 pass, but the throw was incomplete. Suisham converted a 32-yard field goal to build the Redskins' lead to 10-0.

New Orleans responded on their next two drives.

Hartley kicked a 34-yard field goal to put the Saints on the scoreboard early in the second quarter.

Then Brees struck with a big play.

Wide receiver Marques Colston beat the Redskins' coverage downfield and was wide open down the left sideline. He caught Brees' pass ahead of Landry and a hard-charging London Fletcher for a 40-yard touchdown catch.

The Redskins used a big play of their own to get into scoring range on their ensuing drive.

Santana Moss went in motion and was matched up against Jenkins in one-on-one coverage down the right sideline. Moss put a move on Jenkins and broke free, pulling in Campbell's pass for 38 yards to the Saints' 17-yard line.

Three plays later, at the Saints' 5-yard line, Thomas went in motion to the right. He caught Campbell's short pass at the 3-yard line and beat safety Roman Harper to the goal line for a touchdown.

The Redskins had the lead again at 17-10.

The lead was short-lived. A pair of fluky plays aided the Saints late in the first half.

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After the Redskins' defense forced a 3-and-out on the Saints' next possession, Thomas Morestead lofted a short punt. The ball fluttered toward the right sideline and bounded off the foot of Kevin Barnes as he tried to block a Saints tackler.

New Orleans safety Usama Young alertly pounced on the fumble for a recovery and the Saints got the ball back at the Redskins' 41-yard line.

Brees completed a quick pass to wide receiver David Thomas for a first down, but two plays later Landry blitzed into the backfield to sack Brees for an 11-yard loss.

On 3rd-and-26 at the Redskins' 44-yard line, Brees dropped back to pass. He was pressured by Carter around the edge and then floated a pass across the middle to Shockey.

Landry and Kareem Moore had tight coverage and Moore dove over the top of Shockey for an interception. He quickly got up and started racing up-field on a return.

Moore was stopped at the Saints' 44-yard line where wide receiver Robert Meachem appeared ready to wrap him up. Meachem poked the ball loose, though, and he grabbed the ball mid-air.

Nothing but open field ahead for Meachem.

He raced 44 yards into the end zone for a stunning touchdown.

The game was delayed for several minutes as the play was reviewed by replay officials. In contention was whether Moore had pulled in the interception as well as whether he had been down by contact at the point of the interception.

In the end, replay officials ruled that the play stood as called.

The Saints had tied the game at 17-17 heading into halftime.

It would have been easy for the Redskins fold after a demoralizing play to close out the first half, but they responded.

Campbell threw a 29-yard pass to Thomas, who had a step on Jenkins down the left sideline, to the Saints' 28-yard line.

The drive stalled as Campbell's short pass to Moss was incomplete, and Suisham converted a 28-yard field goal to give the Redskins a 20-17 lead.

Campbell and Thomas connected again later in the third quarter.

Running a sideline route, Thomas got a step on cornerback Mike McKenzie and caught Campbell's pass in stride for a 40-yard gain to the Saints' 16-yard line.

Two plays later, on 3rd-and-7 at the 13, Thomas ran a crossing pattern and caught Campbell's pass at the 8-yard line. He avoided two tacklers along the sideline, nimbly staying in bounds, and skipped into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown.

The Redskins led 27-17 and the pressure was on the undefeated Saints.

Hartley narrowed the lead with a 27-yard field goal in the third quarter.

On the last play of the third quarter, Campbell connected with Randle El in stride on a 44-yard pass to the Saints' 12-yard line.

The Redskins were stopped on 3rd-and-1 when Marcus Mason was stuffed for no gain. Suisham converted a 21-yard field goal to rebuild the Redskins' lead to 30-20.

It was all Saints the rest of the way.

Brees connected with Meachem on a 29-yard pass to set up the Saints at the Redskins' 11-yard line. The drive stalled when Byron Westbrook broke up a pass to Colston in the end zone on third down.

Hartley's 28-yard field goal was good and the Redskins lead was narrowed to 30-23.

The Redskins' next drive would have--should have?--sealed the win.

Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff 39 yards to set up the offense at the 41-yard line. Then Campbell connected with Mike Sellers for a 16-yard pass play.

Cartwright and Quinton Ganther took turns running against a tired Saints defense and the Redskins advanced all the way to the 4-yard.

On fourth down, Suisham came on for a 23-yard field goal attempt. The ball was set at the right hash mark.

The snap was a little high, according to Zorn, but Suisham got the kick off. The ball sailed wide left.

No good.

This was new life for the Saints.

With 1:52 left, Brees had time to throw intermediate passes to Devery Henderson and Meachem to advance to the 47-yard line.

Then Brees connected with Meachem for the game-tying touchdown.

30-30.

The Redskins had 1:13 left to drive down the field and Campbell completed a pair of short passes to Cartwright to move the offense into Saints territory.

But Campbell's only bad throw of the game--a pass to Davis on the right sideline, was picked off by linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

In overtime, Sellers' fumble proved to be the cruelest twist as the Saints took possession at the Redskins' 37-yard line.

Hartley's game-winner--with 8:40 left in overtime--was the first time the Saints had led in the game.

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Photo Album: Redskins-Saints](/media-gallery/photos/week-12-redskins-saints/B4CFEF2B-5E19-48AF-849B-75E143E91069)


PRE-GAME COVERAGE

The Redskins take on the undefeated New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Dec. 6 at FedExField. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.

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The game is presented by Motorola: Introducing the Motorola Cliq with MOTOBLUR™. The first phone with social skills. Try it out at Motorola.com.

FedExField is a natural grass surface. The stadium seats 91,704.

The Redskins, in last place in the NFC East through Week 12, are 3-2 at FedExField this season.

They are coming off a 27-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Redskins are 1-2 playing against the NFC South this season. They defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-13 in Week 4, lost to the Carolina Panthers 20-17 in Week 5 and lost to the Atlanta Falcons 31-17 in Week 9.

The Saints are coming off a 38-17 victory over the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. The win improved the Saints to a franchise-best 11-0.

The Redskins-Saints game will be broadcast regionally on FOX. Sam Rosen calls the play-by-play and Tim Ryan adds color commentary. Nischelle Turner reports from the sidelines.

On radio, the game will be broadcast locally on the Redskins Radio Network. Larry Michael calls the play-by-play with former Redskins and Hall of Famers Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff adding color commentary. Former Redskin Rick 'Doc' Walker reports from the sidelines.

Jorge Andres and Mario Alfaro call the game in Spanish on ESPN Deportes 730, with Cristina Cruz reporting from the sidelines.

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PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

Official Redskins-Saints FlipCard (PDF)
OFFENSE
Pos.RedskinsSaints
WR89 Santana Moss12 Marques Colston
LT76 Levi Jones74 Jermon Bushrod
LG66 Derrick Dockery77 Carl Nicks
C61 Casey Rabach76 Jonathan Goodwin
RG71 Mike Williams73 Jahri Evans
RT74 Stephon Heyer78 Jon Stinchcomb
TE86 Fred Davis88 Jeremy Shockey
WR11 Devin Thomas19 Devery Henderson
QB17 Jason Campbell9 Drew Brees
FB45 Mike Sellers36 Kyle Eckel
RB31 Rock Cartwright23 Pierre Thomas
DEFENSE
Pos.RedskinsSaints
DE99 Andre Carter94 Charles Grant
DT96 Cornelius Griffin98 Sedrick Ellis
DT92 A. Haynesworth92 Remi Ayodele
DE93 Phillip Daniels91 Will Smith
LB98 Brian Orakpo55 Scott Fujita
LB59 London Fletcher51 Jonathan Vilma
LB52 Rocky McIntosh58 Scott Shanle
LCB23 DeAngelo Hall32 Jabari Greer
RCB27 Fred Smoot27 Malcolm Jenkins
SS37 Reed Doughty41 Roman Harper
FS30 LaRon Landry42 Darren Sharper
SPECIAL TEAMS
Pos.RedskinsSaints
P3 Hunter Smith6 Thomas Morstead
K6 Shaun Suisham3 John Carney
H3 Hunter Smith11 Mark Brunell
LS67 Ethan Albright57 Jason Kyle
KOR31 Rock Cartwright15 Courtney Roby
PR82 A. Randle El25 Reggie Bush


SERIES HISTORY

The Saints and Redskins have played 22 times, with the Redskins leading the series by a 15-7 count. Overall, the Redskins are 7-4 when hosting the Saints at either D.C. Stadium, RFK Stadium or FedExField.

The last three games in the series have been decided by a touchdown or less.

The Redskins won the last meeting 29-24 at FedExField. Santana Moss caught a 67-yard touchdown pass from Jason Campbell to seal a fourth-quarter comeback for the Redskins.

Campbell finished the game with 24-of-36 completions for 321 yards. Moss was his top beneficiary with seven catches for 164 yards and the touchdown. Chris Cooley added five catches for 72 yards.

Clinton Portis led a hard-nosed ground game that compiled 149 rushing yards. He rushed for 96 yards on 21 carries and had two second-half touchdowns.

The defense turned in several big plays critical to the win. Rookie Chris Horton, starting for an ill Reed Doughty, had a big day. He intercepted two passes, including one in the fourth quarter, and recovered a fumble.


TALE OF THE TAPE

REDSKINS 2009 RANKINGS
OffenseRankYards/Game
Total Offense25309.0
Rushing Offense21102.2
Passing Offense20206.8

DefenseRankYards/GameTotal Defense8298.3Rushing Defense25127.9Passing Defense1170.4

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SAINTS 2009 RANKINGS
OffenseRankYards/Game
Total Offense1425.9
Rushing Offense5150.5
Passing Offense4275.4

DefenseRankYards/GameTotal Defense16333.8Rushing Defense20116.3Passing Defense18217.5

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FAMILIAR FACES ON THE SAINTS

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams served as assistant head coach-defense with the Redskins from 2004-07.

Quarterbacks-passing game coach Pete Carmichael, Jr., served as a quality control coach for the Redskins in 2001.

Backup quarterback Mark Brunell played with the Redskins from 2004-07. He joined the Redskins in March 2004 as part of a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He played in 35 games with the Redskins, completing 59 percent of his passes for 6,033 yards, 38 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.

Backup safety Pierson Prioleau played for the Redskins from 2005-07.

Cornerback Leigh Torrence played for the Redskins from 2006-08. He is currently on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.


REDSKINS-SAINTS NEWS & NOTES

-- Williams Returns With Saints

Gregg Williams returns to FedExField this Sunday as defensive coordinator of the New Orleaons Saints.

Williams spent four years with the Redskins as assistant head coach-defense under Joe Gibbs. From 2004-07, the Redskins ranked sixth in the NFL in defense (306.6 yards per game allowed), second in the NFC and seventh in rushing defense (103.8).

The Redskins allowed only 19.4 points per game during that span, the ninth-fewest in the NFL.

In January 2008, Williams was a candidate for the Redskins' head coaching job, but the team eventually hired Jim Zorn instead.

Williams was replaced in Washington by Greg Blache, his former defensive line coach.

Williams maintains friendships with several Redskins coaches and players, including Jerry Gray, Steve Jackson, Kirk Olivadotti, London Fletcher and Cornelius Griffin.

-- Campbell Moves Up

With Jason Campbell's two touchdown passes last Sunday against Philadelphia, he moved past Norm Snead for eighth all-time in Redskins franchise history.

Campbell has 47 career touchdown passes in 47 career starts with the Redskins.

Campbell's 1-yard touchdown run on the Redskins' first possession last week marked the first time Washington scored a rushing touchdown on its opening drive since Week 3 of 2008 against Arizona. In that contest, Clinton Portis had a 3-yard touchdown run.

This season, Campbell ranks 10th in the NFL and fourth in the NFC with a 65.2 completion percentage.

He ranks 14th in the NFL and seventh in the NFC with a fourth quarter passer rating of 92.3.

-- Moss vs. New Orleans

Santana Moss produced 2008's signature play when the Redskins hosted the New Orleans Saints in Week 2 that year,

With 3:38 left in the game, Moss caught a 67-yard touchdown pass from Jason Campbell to spark the Redskins to a 29-24 win. Moss ran a post pattern against then-rookie cornerback Tracy Porter. Campbell stepped up in the pocket to avoid the rush and lofted the deep pass to Moss.

Moss also caught an 8-yard pass with 1:58 left in the game to seal the Redskins' win.

In two career games against New Orleans, Moss has caught 10 passes for 201 yards, including 67- and 31-yard touchdown catches.

-- Blache And New Orleans

Greg Blache hails from New Orleans and maintains close ties to the city.

He has previously served on the coaching staff at Tulane from 1976-80 and later at Southern University in 1986.

Asked about the state of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Blache said in an interview in September 2008: "Without the Saints, New Orleans would be a difficult place to live and it's a great gift for the city to have a team like that."

He added: "I am proud to be from New Orleans and I love the culture down there, but this week the Saints are the opponents and I have to divorce myself from that attachment. I may have a little gumbo and French bread for dinner, but after that it's back to the Redskins."

-- More Redskins' Ties to New Orleans Region

Chris Horton is a New Orleans native. His grandfather was among the casualties from the Hurricane Katrina tragedy in 2005.

LaRon Landry is from Ama, La., a suburb of New Orleans. He played college football at LSU.

Jason Campbell grew up in Taylorsville, Miss., which is roughly 1.5 hours from New Orleans.

Chris Samuels grew up in Mobile, Ala., which is about an hour from New Orleans.

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-- Redskins Team Captains

The Redskins have elected captains for the offense, defense and special teams.

For the offense, it's quarterback Jason Campbell and left tackle Chris Samuels.

For the defense, it's defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin and linebacker London Fletcher.

For special teams, it's running back Rock Cartwright and fullback Mike Sellers.

Sellers is the newcomer of the captains this year. The other five were also voted team captains in 2008.

-- Strength of Schedule

Washington's strength of schedule for 2009 was ranked 16th in the NFL at .492. Their opponents' 2008 cumulative record was 125-129-2.

The Redskins play a total of seven games against 2008 playoff teams, with four of those games against NFC East foes Philadelphia and New York.

The Miami Dolphins have the NFL's toughest schedule at .594. Their opponents' 2008 cumulative record was 152-104.

The Chicago Bears have the NFL's easiest schedule at .414. Their opponents' 2008 cumulative record was 105-149-2.

-- QB Rating vs. Redskins

The Redskins' defense has continued its NFL-best streak of not allowing an opposing quarterback to reach a QB rating of 100 or more.

The defense improved its streak to 33 games in last Sunday's game vs. Philadelphia. The stat is based on a minimum of 20 pass attempts.

Eagles quaterback Donovan McNabb completed 21-of-35 passes for 260 yards, one touchdown and one interception and a QB rating of 80.7.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was the last QB to post a 100 passer rating with 20 or more pass attempts against the Redskins. He accomplished it on Nov. 18, 2007, in a 28-23 win over the Redskins at Texas Stadium.

-- Thomas Time?

Devin Thomas has started seven of the Redskins' 11 games this season and has shown signs of coming on in recent weeks.

Last Sunday in Philadelphia, Thomas caught four catches for 46 yards, career highs for the second-year receiver.

His 35-yard reception in the third quarter was also a career high.

For the season, Thomas has posted 16 catches for 187 yards and one touchdown.

-- D-Line Sackmasters

The Redskins' starting defensive line of Phillip Daniels, Cornelius Griffin, Albert Haynesworth and Andre Carter has combined for 176.5 career sacks.

That's the most of any starting defensive line in the NFL.

Cornelius Griffin registered his 29th career sack last Sunday in Dallas. That ties him for seventh place among active defensive tackles.

Albert Haynesworth's 27 career sacks is tied for 10th among active defensive tackles.

-- Red Zone Defense

The Redskins lead the NFL in red zone efficiency, allowing opponents only eight touchdowns in 25 trips, a 32.0 percent clip.

Last week in Philadelphia, the Redskins stopped the Eagles three times in the red zone, forcing three field goals.

Overall, the defense is ranked eighth in the NFL, 25th against the rush and first against the pass. The unit is 10th in the NFL in points allowed.

The defense also leads the NFL in fourth-down efficiency.

-- Payton's Place

Saints head coach Sean Payton has served as an assistant coach for three NFC East teams, but not the Redskins.

He was coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1997-98, New York Giants from 1999-2002 and Dallas Cowboys from 2003-05.

In two-plus seasons as head coach of the Saints, Payton has compiled a 37-24 record.

-- Legend of Lombardi

New Orleans Saints offensive assistant coach Joe Lombardi is the grandson of Hall of Fame legend Vince Lombardi.

Vince Lombardi, of course, was head coach and executive vice president of the Redskins in 1969. (Vince Lombardi passed away following the 1969 season.)

Joe Lombardi has also coached tight ends and tackles at Virginia Military Institite in 1999.

-- What's Next?

The Redskins resume the AFC West portion of their schedule with a road trip to Oakland to take on the Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.

Washington is 1-1 against the AFC West this season, having lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 14-6 and defeated the Denver Broncos 27-17.

The Redskins are 0-6 in road games this season and have lost nine consecutive road games dating back to last year.

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