- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2006

Mark Brunell’s first pass against his former Jacksonville team was his worst, a flea-flicker that turned into an interception when he threw it right to Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis.

The Washington Redskins quarterback, however, recovered and delivered his second straight solid outing. He completed 18 of 30 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns, including a 68-yarder to Santana Moss in overtime that gave the Redskins a 36-30 victory.

Brunell, who earlier threw touchdown passes of 55 and 8 yards to Moss, has completed 42 of 57 for 590 yards and four touchdowns in the Redskins’ two victories.

Brunell said playing against the Jaguars, the team he led to two AFC Championship games in the 1990s, didn’t stir any additional emotions.

“It was interesting,” he said. “It was weird looking across and seeing those jerseys. It was different.”

Asked if the win meant more because it came over the team that chose young quarterback Byron Leftwich over him in 2003, Brunell replied, “Maybe a little bit, but not a whole lot. We’ll have a good time with it tonight, but then it’s time to start thinking about the Giants.”

Brunell’s yardage total was the highest for him since he threw for 331 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs last year and marked his second-largest total since he joined the Redskins in 2004.

Brunell threw mostly short passes in a victory over the Houston Texans last week, but he took more chances downfield against the Jaguars, recording completions of 68, 55, 34, 33 and 23 yards.

“Things are coming together for us,” he said. “Hopefully, we can keep it going. The guys are getting more comfortable with what kind of team we want to be on offense.”

Good returns

Rock Cartwright continued his brilliant start as the Redskins’ kickoff return man this season.

The fifth-year special teams maven from Kansas State, who popped Dallas for a 100-yard gem in Week 2, averaged 30 yards on five returns yesterday, routinely giving Brunell and Co. excellent starting position.

Cartwright’s best effort was a 46-yard burst that set up a go-ahead field goal on the penultimate possession of regulation.

Cartwright has averaged 28.8 yards on his 15 returns this season for a Washington bunch that entered the day ranked second in the NFL in kickoff returns.

“It’s not just me — I’m running through wide holes,” Cartwright said. “I feel like I’m getting into a groove, and I think the guys in front of me are getting comfortable with me and they know what to expect. They know I’m running at a high gear every time.”

Flipping over the toss

A coin flip is a 50-50 proposition, unless Moss is involved.

Moss, one of the Redskins’ game captains, was at midfield for the coin toss before overtime. As the visiting team, Jacksonville had the right to call it before the flip.

“I was wishing we got the chance to call the coin, and the guy said tails,” Moss said. “I was thinking, ‘Never bet on your tails. Bet with your head.”

Sure enough, it landed heads and Washington elected to receive. Moss scored on a 68-yard pass from quarterback Mark Brunell three plays into the drive to clinch the victory.

“When I heard him say tails, I can’t say I just knew, but I just felt good about it because the first coin toss they bet tails and won,” Moss said. “I was guessing heads and I thought, ‘How do you go with tails?’ That’s just one of those things you do when you’re flipping that quarter when you were younger.”

Cooley emerges

While Moss received plenty of plaudits for his three-touchdown performance, the Redskins also got strong production from tight end Chris Cooley.

Cooley caught four passes for 70 yards, a performance more in line with his breakout season in 2005 than his production to date this year. Cooley caught only seven passes for 38 yards in Washington’s first three games and, though he made seven touchdown receptions last year, has not scored this season.

“I felt like I got off to a slow start, so it was great for me,” Cooley said. “The first catch I made over the middle, I think I ran over the safety and everybody cheered. It really got me into the game.”

He nearly made another big play in the overtime period. Cooley caught a 19-yard pass from Brunell to put the Redskins in Jacksonville territory, but he was flagged for stepping out of bounds before making the catch. On the next play, Moss scored the game-winning touchdown.

“If we win, I could care less,” Cooley said. “I think I ran down the sideline the whole way with Santana, so I was just excited.”

Walk-off victory

The Redskins’ overtime win via touchdown was their first at FedEx Field since the team’s first game at the stadium in 1997, when Gus Frerotte threw a touchdown pass to Michael Westbrook to defeat the Arizona Cardinals 19-13.

The Redskins were 1-1 in overtime games last season, defeating the Seattle Seahawks and losing to the San Diego Chargers.

Salave’a, Duckett sit

Defensive tackle Joe Salave’a (calf) missed his second consecutive game, and cornerback Shawn Springs (groin) missed his fourth game.

Safety Reed Doughty, running back T.J. Duckett, defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti and offensive linemen Jim Molinaro and Mike Pucillo, all healthy, also were listed as inactive for yesterday’s game.

Duckett, acquired by the Redskins in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons this summer, sat for the second straight week and has only five carries this season.

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