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What the last three weeks have shown as much as anything is that Zorn’s offense is still a work in progress. It had some encouraging flashes in the first month - and all along, it has had the requisite pass-run balance - but it’s not exactly a Maserati yet. More like a Volvo.

And there’s no denying the offense has been slow-starting this season, glacially slow. We’re almost halfway through the schedule, and Redskins have managed just 17 first-quarter points, seven of them coming on the aforementioned gift-wrapped TD from the Rams.

This puts a lot of pressure on a defense - and so far, Blache’s unit has held up well, helped keep the Redskins in games until the offense pulled itself together. But this can’t go on indefinitely, can it? The Redskins can’t expect to keep beating teams with so little production in the first quarter - and often, the first half.

They’ve been fortunate they haven’t fallen so far behind that they’ve had to junk their offensive game plan. Junking their game plan, after all, would mean going away from Portis, who topped 120 rushing yards for the fourth straight week Sunday, tying Earnest Byner’s franchise record (set in 1990).

Portis is the best back in the league right now. And Zorn is smart enough to realize that while his West Coast attack is built around the pass, the heart of this Redskins offense is its running game - No. 26 darting to daylight behind his beefy veteran line. Campbell has talent, no question, but he’s still a quarterback-in-training. For the time being, at least, Clinton is The Man.

The Redskins dodged another loss Sunday but just barely. They’re 5-2, in serious playoff contention, and yet they haven’t beaten anybody decisively. And they won’t until their offense, which has been fairly good at gaining yards, starts scoring more points - the earlier in the game, the better.