- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 18, 2007

PHILADELPHIA — When it came time to slide around the pocket and deliver a pass to keep a scoring drive alive, Jason Campbell made the throw.

When the opportunity presented itself to scramble downfield, Campbell ran for the first down.

And when the rare shot at a road division win was in his hands, Campbell didn’t let go, helping the Washington Redskins to a 20-12 win over the Philadelphia Eagles last night.

In his first “Monday Night Football” start, Campbell was unflappable aside from an early interception, throwing for 209 yards and, in the defining drive of his young NFL career, converting two third-and-long situations to set up Clinton Portis’ 6-yard touchdown with 12:08 left.

“This is one of the hardest places to come in and play,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “We hadn’t had much success here, but this was a lot like last week — we made some mistakes in all three areas, but we kept playing and kept swinging.”

The Redskins are 2-0 for the second time in three years, keeping pace with the Dallas Cowboys. More importantly for Washington, the Eagles and New York Giants — whom the Redskins host Sunday — are 0-2.

The Redskins had to survive an anxious ending.

The Eagles moved to the Redskins 9-yard line, but on a fourth-and-6 play rookie safety LaRon Landry broke up a pass to Kevin Curtis at the 4-yard line to seal the game with 1:05 left.

“It was up to him to make a play,” outside linebacker Marcus Washington said. “It was either him or them and I’m glad it was him.”

The Redskins have allowed only one touchdown in two games and the Eagles had to settle for four field goals.

“If we keep teams to field goals or no points at all once they get into the red zone, we know we can win a lot of ballgames,” middle linebacker London Fletcher said. “Today was an example of that.”

The game was also an example that Campbell is developing into a do-what-it-takes NFL quarterback. He was 16-for-29 passing for 209 yards and rushed six times for 39 yards.

“It’s hard to get these road wins in the division,” Campbell said. “[2-0] feels great but we have to keep pushing each other to get better.”

Just as last week’s win over Miami was costly with the loss of right tackle Jon Jansen, the offensive line took another hit last night. Right guard Randy Thomas left the game after the first quarter with a partially torn left triceps muscle.

Gibbs wouldn’t give a prognosis on the severity of Thomas’ injury. He was replaced by veteran Jason Fabini.

Portis carried 17 times for the second consecutive week and finished with 69 yards. Santana Moss, after a quiet Week 1, caught six passes for 89 yards.

Portis’ touchdown stretched the lead to 20-9 and featured two great plays by Campbell. On a third-and-8 from the Eagles’ 33, Campbell found Chris Cooley for a 9-yard play. On a third-and-10 from the 24, Campbell rolled left and threw 18 yards to Todd Yoder. A play later, Portis bounced around the left side for his second touchdown of the year.

The Eagles responded first with a 22-yard David Akers field goal with 6:30 left. After a Redskins’ three-and-out, Philadelphia took over with 4:52 remaining.

Four plays later, the Eagles were at the Washington 41. An incompletion and 3-yard loss by Brian Westbrook set up a fourth-and-5. But McNabb — facing a Redskins blitz — passed 19 yards to Reggie Brown to keep the Eagles hopes alive.

McNabb completed a 12-yard pass to Matt Schobel and a 4-yard pass to Kevin Curtis. On the next play, McNabb had Curtis wide open at the goal line but threw wildly, setting up Landry’s game-saving hit.

The Redskins scored first on a 35-yard Shaun Suisham field goal on the final play of the first quarter. Philadelphia answered on the ensuing drive with a 24-yard field goal by Akers.

The Eagles put themselves in good position moments later when Campbell was intercepted by James at the Eagles 30. As he is prone to do, Campbell stared down intended receiver Antwaan Randle El, allowing James to cut off the route. Philadelphia had to settle for a 39-yard Akers field goal with 7:05 left in the half.

The Eagles were 0-for-4 in the red zone.

Zaniness reigned on the Redskins’ final possession of the half. An 11-yard pass to Moss, a 20-yard Campbell scramble and a 17-yard Randle El catch and run gave Washington a first down at the 1. Campbell hurried his team to the line to spike it with 14 seconds left. But the next three attempts to play resulted in: delay of game (when the radio in Campbell’s helmet malfunctioned), Fabini false start, Fabini false start.

Gibbs sent out the field goal team but when Andy Reid called timeout, Gibbs re-considered and Campbell rewarded him with a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chris Cooley, who beat Eagles safety Brian Dawkins.

“Thanks to Andy Reid for calling timeout,” Campbell said. “It gave us an opportunity to go back out there and take a shot.”

Leading 10-6 at halftime, the Redskins stretched the lead to 13-6 on Suisham’s 37-yard field goal in the third quarter. The Eagles again had an answer, a 26-yard field goal by Akers.

After Portis’ touchdown early in the fourth quarter, the Eagles drove 61 yards but the drive again stalled — this time at the Redskins 4. Reid opted for a 22-yard Akers field goal with 6:30 left rather than go for it on fourth down. The Redskins punted, then stopped Philadelphia 9 yards short of a potential overtime-forcing touchdown.

“This was a great experience tonight,” Gibbs said.

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