- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 23, 2009

While starting quarterback Jason Campbell struggled again for the Washington Redskins in their 17-13 preseason victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night, rookie free agent Chase Daniel looked good in his first NFL action.

“Once I got that first hit, I felt I was all right, ready to go,” said Daniel, who downplayed the competition with holdover Colt Brennan for the No. 3 quarterback job despite his superb 134.4 passer rating. “In none of my dreams did I think I’d go out there and throw two touchdowns in my first NFL game.”

Daniel completed five of his first six passes for 40 yards, including a 3-yard scoring toss to fellow rookie Marko Mitchell to complete a 14-play, 60-yard drive.

“He ran a great route, gave me some room to throw it outside,” Daniel said. “I lofted it up there, and he went up and got it.”

Daniel then scrambled for 22 yards on third-and-11 to keep his second series going, putting the Redskins on the Pittsburgh 39 as the fourth quarter began.

Daniel was sacked for a 12-yard loss by former Missouri teammate Ziggy Hood two plays later and was run out of bounds by Hood again on the next play. The Redskins had to punt, but Fred Davis forced returner Joe Burnett to fumble. On the next play, Daniel hit Davis over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown that gave Washington a 17-13 lead.

Daniel finished 6-for-8 for 58 yards and the two scores. Campbell completed just one of seven passes for 10 yards against the Steelers’ starting defense.

Mason top rusher

Marcus Mason led the NFL in rushing and yards from scrimmage last preseason and still wound up being cut by the Redskins. Mason spent the rest of 2008 on the Baltimore practice squad and the active roster of the New York Jets without getting into a game.

Now back with the Redskins, Mason is trying to break into the long-established backfield of Clinton Portis, Mike Sellers, Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright - or persuade the coaches to keep him as a fifth back.

Mason’s odds looked even longer when he gained just 12 yards on six carries along with a 10-yard catch in the preseason opener against the Ravens. But the Georgetown Prep graduate recaptured some of his 2008 form against the Steelers after Betts departed late in the first quarter with a strained back and Sellers left with a severely bruised right knee on Washington’s first full series of the second quarter.

“It’s no different than last summer,” Mason said before the game. “I just have to do the same things a little better. I know everything, so I’m more confident. I’m not out there wondering. I’m out there knowing.”

After not gaining a yard on his first carry, Mason scooted left for 14 on his second. Mason got stuffed for no gain on a third-and-1 screen pass that ended that series. However, he raced for 18 on his second carry after halftime. Six plays later, the 5-foot-9, 215-pound Mason ran over cornerback Roy Lewis to pick up 8 yards and a first down on third-and-7 from the Pittsburgh 12, setting up Washington’s first touchdown of the preseason.

“All Marcus can do is play like he’s played,” running backs coach Stump Mitchell said. “He didn’t do anything bad last year. He caught the ball well. He ran the ball well and he blocked well. Unfortunately [for him], we went with veteran guys. All he can do is make it a tough decision for us.”

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