- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2005

Just one time, Clinton Portis said after another stress-inducing, make-you-old-quick Washington Redskins victory, he would like to relax in the final minutes and enjoy the fruits of his labor as the clock winds down.

“I’m tired of these emotional, close games,” he said. “I’m ready for a blowout win.”

Sorry, Clinton, but this is the NFL and there isn’t a Florida Atlantic or a Sam Houston State on the Redskins’ schedule. And these are the Redskins, who will never be accused of doing anything the easy way.

Exhibit C was yesterday’s 20-17 overtime win against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Redskins squandered an 11-point, third-quarter lead, and then a Mark Brunell interception with 49 seconds left in regulation put Seattle in position to do what Washington did two weeks ago in Dallas — steal a road win. But Josh Brown’s 47-yard field goal attempt ricocheted off the left upright.

The Redskins put their mulligan to good use. They got the ball first in overtime and never gave it up, remaining undefeated on rookie Nick Novak’s 39-yard field goal 5:31 into the extra period.

The Redskins’ first overtime win since 2001 makes them 3-0 for the first time since their 1991 Super Bowl season and Washington joins 4-0 Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and Indianapolis as the NFL’s only undefeated teams. Heading into games at Denver and Kansas City, the Redskins lead the NFC East by a half-game over Philadelphia and the N.Y. Giants, which are both 3-1.

“I don’t know how you can be this worn out,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “I didn’t do anything and I’m completely drained.”

Winners of three games by a combined six points, the latest nail-biter was different than the Chicago defensive struggle and the Dallas miracle comeback.

The Redskins used Santana Moss (six catches for 87 yards), astounding work on third down (13 of 18) and a little luck (Brown’s missed field goal).

“3-0 is 3-0,” receiver David Patten said. “It doesn’t matter where you are or how many times you’ve done it. But it’s important that we’ve been able to string together wins because this is a young team that needed confidence.”

The Redskins’ current opinion of themselves is sky high. Not arrogant, but this bunch thinks it can overcome any dose of adversity tossed its way. Just look at overtime. Three times, the Redskins faced third-and-long, and three times they converted against the league’s best third-down defense.

• Third-and-10 from the Redskins 23. Brunell threw 13 yards to Moss, who made the catch while falling to the ground.

“I just zoned in on the ball,” Moss said. “It was pretty much like I had a [catcher’s] mitt on.”

• Third-and-9 from the Redskins 37. The pressure came at Brunell quickly and Seattle defensive end Bryce Fisher got a hand on him, but Brunell escaped and scrambled 18 yards into Seahawks territory.

“I found a lane and I was able to get by a couple of guys,” he said.

• Third-and-10 from the Seattle 45. Brunell, under duress thanks to a Seahawks blitz, zipped a pass to Moss over the middle, who zig-zagged his way to the 15-yard line.

“It was a timing route and I think because of [the Dallas game], they were very conscious of not letting him get behind them,” Brunell said. “He’s a kid who can do something with the ball.”

Two plays later, Novak kicked a 34-yard field goal that was wiped out by a delay of game penalty. No matter, Novak moved back 5 yards and drilled the winner.

“This is a whole new level and this tops any game-winner I’ve had in college,” he said.

The Redskins controlled the first-half clock — 21:57 of possession and double the offensive snaps (42-21) — but not the scoreboard, leading only 7-3 on Brunell’s 1-yard pass to tight end Robert Royal to cap a 16-play, 85-yard march.

Seattle star Shaun Alexander was held to 12 yards rushing in the first half.

“We definitely had the ball for the lion’s share and things were going really well, but we didn’t punch it in and take advantage of the opportunities,” offensive tackle Jon Jansen said.

On their first drive of the second half, the Redskins extended the lead to 14-3 when H-back Mike Sellers scored his first touchdown in four years, a 4-yard pass from Brunell. The Seahawks answered with an Alexander 3-yard run.

Novak’s 40-yard field goal with three seconds left in the third quarter made it 17-10. But against the NFL’s third-ranked defense, Seattle moved 91 yards on 14 plays, tying the score on Darrell Jackson’s 6-yard catch with 1:23 left.

The Redskins gave Seattle a chance to win it when Brunell’s pass bounced off the hand of a diving Portis. Kelly Herndon caught the jump ball and returned it to the Redskins’ 33.

“After that, I wanted to get to the highest point of FedEx Field and jump off,” Brunell said.

Brunell didn’t have a chance to seek higher ground: Brown’s missed field goal extended the game and the Redskins again found a way.

“This has to be the most exciting time of my career because of the way we win and fight at the end,” right guard Randy Thomas said. “You can see it in guys’ eyes the last three games. The attitude is always positive and guys know they can pull through.

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