In his finest game as a pro, Washington Redskinsquarterback Jason Campbell set career highs for completions (23), yards (248), completion percentage (79.3) and passer rating (125.3) and tied his mark for touchdowns (two) yesterday against the Detroit Lions.
"It was probably his best effort since he"s been starting for us," coach Joe Gibbs said of Campbell, who improved to 5-6 as a starter. "He made good, smart decisions all game, took what was there and got out of the pocket to make a really big play."
Campbell had two streaks of six consecutive completions and one of five straight. Eight Redskins had at least one catch.
"I think he felt pretty confident going in with the game plan," quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor said. "From the viewpoint I had, it seemed like he was on time with a lot of his throws."
Said Campbell: "If you're able to get into a rhythm early, it makes a big difference because you feel that no matter what's called, you can make something happen. We still left some things on the field, but we did what we had to do."
The Redskins lost receiver Antwaan Randle El (seven catches, 100 yards) to a strained hamstring on the final play of the first half and linebacker Marcus Washington (sack, forced fumble) to a similar ailment on Detroit's field goal drive late in the third quarter. Redskins director of medicine Bubba Tyer said both are day-to-day.
Defensive end Phillip Daniels sprained his right shoulder while stripping the ball from Lions running back Aveion Cason with 1:39 left in the first half. However, Daniels started the second half. Cornerback Fred Smoot suffered a burner late in the game. Running back Clinton Portis twisted his previously sprained right knee but returned. Campbell's helmet cut his nose when he was stopped on a sneak in the second quarter, but he didn't miss a snap.
Three of Campbell's four touchdown passes this year have gone to tight end Chris Cooley and the fourth to fullback Mike Sellers. In fact, Campbell's last seven touchdown passes dating to Dec. 24 have gone to tight ends or running backs.
Of Campbell's 14 touchdown throws in his 11 career starts, only four have gone to wideouts.
"I feel like every time we get in the red zone, they're calling my number," said Cooley, who has just 10 total catches. "Hopefully, it translates into a few more catches down the field. [The touchdown] was the exact same play [he scored on last game against the New York Giants]. We [just] changed the motion on it. I just kinda run to wherever I feel open, and Jason just reads me. It's been a great play for us the last couple years. It's one that [transferred] from Coach Gibbs' offense into our new offensive scheme."
Finally a pick
Cornerback Carlos Rogers closed out the scoring with a 61-yard interception return for his first career touchdown. The score elicited much comment in the locker room because Rogers has dropped more than his share of balls during his three seasons, most notably one that would have given Washington a 9-0 lead in a playoff loss at Seattle on Jan. 14, 2006.
"They kept running a guy to the flat and a corner route behind me. Being Cover-2, I was in between them. I [saw Lions quarterback Jon Kitna] look over that way, and I just took off and jumped [the play]," Rogers said. "I'll take 'em however y'all want to give 'em to me."
Moss' strained groin kept him inactive for the fourth time in 13 games dating to November. James Thrash replaced Moss in his first start since the 2005 regular-season finale.
Defensive tackle Kedric Golston was inactive for the first time in his two-year career. Golston, who started 13 games as a rookie, lost his job to fellow second-year man Anthony Montgomery this summer but had been rotating regularly. Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said he played Lorenzo Alexander instead of Golston because the former practice squad member is a better pass rusher.
Cornerback David Macklin was a surprising inactive considering how often Detroit throws the ball. The Redskins opted to keep backup safeties Vernon Fox and Reed Doughty active instead because they are more important to the special teams.
Gary Clark, who caught 549 passes from 1985 to 1992, the third-highest total in Redskins history, was inducted into the team's Ring of Fame at halftime. Ex-teammate Mark Moseley, a Ring of Fame member, performed the induction honors.