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Question of the Day
PASSING OFFENSE: A
Quarterback Jason Campbell hit his first five passes en route to a career-best performance. Receiver Antwaan Randle El caught seven passes for 100 yards in the first half before injuring a hamstring. Chris Cooley made four catches, including his third TD reception of the season. The pass protection was excellent.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C
Clinton Portis mostly was held to small gains and he fumbled in the red zone. Backup Ladell Betts managed just 22 yards on eight carries. Fullback Mike Sellers bulled for 24 yards and a touchdown on five carries and caught a touchdown pass. The run blocking wasn’t great, but that didn’t matter today.
PASSING DEFENSE: A
Assistant coaches Gregg Williams, Jerry Gray and Steve Jackson deserve game balls for coming up with a plan that thoroughly shut down the NFL’s top-rated passing attack. Give credit, too, to the defensive backs and to the line, which sacked Lions quarterback Jon Kitna four times.
RUSHING DEFENSE: C
The Lions don’t run often, so the fact that running back Tatum Bell averaged almost 4 yards a carry in the first half and backup Kevin Jones almost 5 in the second half didn’t matter much. This game was all about stopping the passing attack, and the defense did a terrific job of that.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
James Thrash stepped in as the punt returner after Randle El got hurt and produced 71 yards on two returns. His 62-yard return, with an assist from Rock Cartwright on a fumble recovery, set up the Redskins’ third touchdown. Shaun Suisham missed a 48-yard field goal but hit a 28-yarder.
This day belonged to Joe Gibbs and his staff. The decision to give the players the week off during the bye looked smart: They responded with their best all-around performance of the season. The defensive coaches did an especially wonderful job, but playcaller Al Saunders was also masterful.
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