- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 18, 2007

PHILADELPHIA Transforming from the weak link for Linc week, the Washington Redskins‘ aerial weaponry keyed last night’s road heroics at Philadelphia.

In the opener against Miami, Santana Moss and Chris Cooley combined to catch just three passes for 28 yards. Though the Redskins won in overtime against the suspect Dolphins, Moss was furious at himself after suffering two uncharacteristic drops. And Cooley, such a crucial part of the team’s offense over the last three seasons, caught just one pass for 10 yards against a Miami defense that wanted to make quarterback Jason Campbell prove he could beat it downfield.

Last night both rebounded from that sluggish start, combining to catch eight passes for 114 yards and a touchdown in the 20-12 victory at Philadelphia.

Both did most of their damage in a first half that saw Campbell and Moss savage backup cornerback William James. Formerly known as Will Peterson, James was waived by the Giants last spring after a 2006 season plagued by back problems. He changed his name and signed a one-year contract with the Eagles, earning a slot in the starting lineup last night in place of injured Lito Sheppard.

Campbell and Moss weren’t fooled by the name change, attacking the suspect corner early and often. A 43-yard connection by the pair on a deep sideline route over James set up the game’s first score, a 35-yard field goal by Washington kicker Shaun Suisham to close the opening quarter.

All told, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound burner from Miami caught six balls for 89 yards, laying out to catch the sideline throw and making two other acrobatic snares. And though he did drop one third-down pass early in the third quarter, Moss was able to get open all night against the Eagles secondary, returning to his customary field-stretching self.

Cooley’s game began less auspiciously; he dropped a perfectly thrown ball from Campbell on the second play from scrimmage that would have given the Redskins a 35-yard gain and set them up just outside the Red Zone. But unlike last week, when Campbell seemed to look elsewhere after his opening telegraphed toss to the H-back was intercepted, the first-year starter didn’t give up on his target last night.

Though Cooley’s first catch didn’t come until the penultimate play of the first half, it might have been the biggest grab of the night for the visitors. It yielded the only touchdown of the half and put the Redskins ahead to stay.

The play that gave Washington a 10-6 lead at the break almost never happened. In a bizarre sequence of events, the Redskins were whistled for three straight penalties and nearly kicked a field goal on second down with 14 seconds remaining. But Philadelphia coach Andy Reid bailed out a seemingly confused Joe Gibbs by calling a timeout when Washington sent out its field goal team.

Given time to reconsider, Gibbs sent back in the offense, and Campbell split Philly defenders Brian Dawkins and Joselio Hanson on a beautiful ball to the left corner of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown to swing all the momentum to Washington.

Cooley only caught one other ball, but once again it was a pivotal one. On Washington’s final scoring drive, Campbell found Cooley in the flat on third-and-long play from the Eagles’ 33-yard line, and Cooley broke a tackle attempt by defensive end Trent Cole and rumbled for a 9-yard, first-down gain to keep alive a drive that resulted in a touchdown and a 20-9 lead.

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