A promising start had once again given way to a frustrating first half for the Washington Redskins’ starting offense.
The unit finally found the end zone, but its next 11 plays netted 11 yards. A fourth consecutive punt was looming. But after Jason Campbell found Santana Moss for a third-and-9 conversion, Campbell could finally exhale and play.
And play he did.
In one half plus one series of work Friday night, Campbell engineered three scoring drives and was 13-for-22 for 209 yards in the Redskins’ 27-24 loss to the New England Patriots.
“We came out and had some fun,” Campbell said. “We tried to execute a lot of different areas of the field.”
Campbell entered 4-for-13 in two preseason games but can start preparing for the Sept. 13 regular-season opener with a shot of confidence.
“I was very pleased,” coach Jim Zorn said. “He was very much into the game. He was competing hard and doing the things that you want. We missed on a couple of long ones, but he came back and was running the show.”
The game appeared headed for overtime until Pat Chung returned a punt to the Washington 23-yard line with 1:39 remaining. Stephen Gostkowski kicked the game-winning, 30-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining.
The game was a success for the offense and so-so for the defense.
The starting offense scored 17 points and gained 248 yards on 36 plays - this from a group that managed only four punts in five drives in the first two preseason contests.
“We mixed it up with some aggressive pass plays, and our receivers did a nice job of separating from defenders,” Zorn said.
The starting defense allowed 17 points and 200 yards on 36 plays against one of the best offenses in football. The Redskins stiffened after allowing scoring drives of 73, 84 and 47 yards, forcing two punts and a turnover before leaving midway through the third quarter.
“It was a great finish,” defensive end Andre Carter said. “Penalties can kill you when you play a good team like the Patriots because they’ll capitalize. We’re coming along.”
Once the starters left, Colt Brennan overcame an interception that was returned 99 yards for a touchdown to throw a 33-yard score to Marko Mitchell, who continued to show he belongs on the 53-man roster.
Just like last week, the Redskins marched down the field to open the game. Unlike last week, the Redskins actually finished the drive with a touchdown.