- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 9, 2004

Renaldo Wynn was seething.

As the Washington Redskins defensive end finished putting on his suit in the locker room at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Redskins had just lost 28-6 to the Philadelphia Eagles, he had a few choice words for his opponents. Wynn didn’t appreciate the way the Eagles had continued to attack in the game’s final minutes.

“You can call it whatever you want to call it, but I didn’t like it,” Wynn said, sweat still glistening on his forehead. “We’ll remember it. And the good thing is, we play them again, and we play them at our place. What goes around comes around.”

On Sunday night, three weeks later, Wynn gets his rematch at FedEx Field. And the memory of how he felt Nov.21 in the locker room — one of the few places where the Redskins collectively lost their cool this season — is among his motivations as he goes through practice.

“You don’t forget those type of things. You just lock it in your memory bank,” Wynn said yesterday, pretending to turn a key on the side of his head.

The rest of Washington’s defense can’t wait for a second crack at the Eagles, either. Some players simply want to avenge the loss and take another step toward potentially securing the NFL’s No.1 ranking. But several, like Wynn, specifically want to get back at Philadelphia for seemingly running up the score, talking trash and generally trying to embarrass Washington.

“We just remember,” cornerback Fred Smoot said. “That’s all I got to say. On the defensive side, we remember it. No big deal. This is the NFL. Nobody’s going to beg for sympathy. We just remember.”

The thirst for revenge is emblematic of the defense’s attitude this season. Even as the Redskins (4-8) have disappointed in coach Joe Gibbs’ first year back, the defense, under Gregg Williams, has played with distinct pride. The unit seems to hold itself to an independent, lofty standard.

Only four opponents have scored as many as 20 points against Washington, and the Green Bay Packers and Eagles share the modest high mark of 28 points. The Redskins have been in every game and rank sixth in scoring defense, as well as second overall.

Essentially, the defense goes out each week with the mind-set it will win its side of the ball — regardless of how the team is doing in terms of wins and losses.

“I don’t care what the record is,” Wynn said. “We could go to a high school field, with no fans in the stands, and play right now. We’re going to show up. You better believe that.”

The defense is, in fact, pretty much the only reason Washington can hope to be competitive Sunday. The Eagles destroyed Green Bay 47-17 on Sunday as quarterback Donovan McNabb approached apotheosis with 464 passing yards and five touchdowns. At one point, dating to a win the week earlier, he completed an NFL-record 24 straight passes.

The Eagles weren’t nearly as successful through much of the first meeting with Washington. The Redskins trailed just 14-6 in the fourth quarter and even had a chance to tie with first-and-goal at the 10. But Washington committed three straight penalties, and Ola Kimrin missed a 48-yard field goal. Seizing momentum, Philadelphia quickly pulled away — and then piled it on.

“I think it’ll be a different outcome this week,” linebacker Antonio Pierce said. “We’re at home. We’ve got a little momentum on offense. And on defense, we’ll be more on top of our game. We slacked off a little bit in that fourth quarter when it got out of hand. That’s our fault.”

Pierce is among the Redskins who isn’t taking any special motivation from the Eagles’ actions in the late going last month. Safety Ryan Clark feels a bit differently.

“It’s something I wouldn’t do to another team, but it’s playing football,” Clark said. “I’m not going to complain about it, but you do remember it. We remember that they didn’t have the respect for us as a team to say, ‘We’re up right now. We’re going to stop trying to score. We’re going to run the clock out.’ … It’s kind of like a slap in the face.”

A little bad blood seems to be seeping back into the Redskins-Eagles rivalry, which featured the “Body Bag Game” in 1990 but lately has been more characterized by the number of players (Jeremiah Trotter, James Thrash, etc.) that benignly shuffle between the clubs. This weekend Wynn and his defensive teammates get a chance to get even.

“It’s exciting,” linebacker Marcus Washington said. “And that’s what football’s all about. When there’s a little hostility in the air, guys want to get out there, make some big plays and rub it in the other guy’s face. We’ll be ready.”

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