- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2009

First quarter

What happened: Neither team went anywhere on its first possession. The Redskins then drove 84 yards before Jason Campbell’s pass on third-and-goal from the 3 was knocked down in the end zone. Shaun Suisham kicked a 21-yard field goal. Tight end Chris Cooley caught four passes for 40 yards, and Clinton Portis had four carries for 26 yards on the drive. The Rams caught a huge break when Randy McMichael lost a fumble, but rookie Brian Orakpo was called for roughing the passer. St. Louis kept the ball, got a new set of downs and moved into Redskins territory.

Analysis: Campbell came out throwing, just missing Malcolm Kelly on a deep pass on the game’s first play, then focusing on Cooley for the shorter stuff. Portis had plenty of running room during the Redskins’ long drive. Except for the penalty on Orakpo, Washington handled the Rams’ ineffectual offense, allowing running back Steven Jackson no room to operate and hassling quarterback Marc Bulger.

BY THE NUMBERS

4 Catches in the quarter by Redskins tight end Chris Cooley

Second quarter

What happened: Cornelius Griffin and Andre Carter sacked Bulger on the first play of the quarter, essentially killing the drive. Antwaan Randle El’s 15-yard punt return set Washington up on its 26, and Campbell went to work again, moving the Redskins down the field. But they again had to settle for a field goal. The Rams finally showed some life on offense when Jackson burst up the middle for 62 yards, although an illegal block pushed them back 10 yards. Unlike the Redskins, the Rams found the end zone on Bulger’s 2-yard pass to Laurent Robinson with 3:56 left in the quarter, the Rams’ first points of the season. Another long Redskins drive was ruined when Santana Moss fumbled near the end of the half.

Analysis: Campbell and the Redskins pretty much had their way with the Rams’ defense - except in the red zone. Campbell picked apart St. Louis mainly with short stuff and was rarely pressured. And when he did get some heat, he scrambled out of trouble. The red zone problems weren’t all Campbell’s, though. Fullback Mike Sellers’ drop near the goal line cost a potential touchdown. Jackson’s big run was about all the offense the Rams mustered, but it was enough to help them take a 7-6 halftime lead.

BY THE NUMBERS

96 Passing yards for Jason Campbell in the second quarter, though the Redskins again had to settle for a field goal.

Third quarter

What happened: The Rams took the second-half kickoff, got a first down on their first play, then did nothing. Washington took over on its 21 and mounted another long drive, mixing the run and the pass. Keyed by big catches by Cooley (18 yards ) and Randle El (24 yards), the Redskins had first-and-goal on the 7 but again couldn’t punch it in, resorting to an option pass by Portis on third down that went incomplete. Suisham booted another field goal. The Rams then mounted a sustained drive of their own as Bulger hit Keenan Burton on completions of 13 and 25 yards and found Robinson for 13 yards on third-and-7. The Rams reached the Washington 21 as the quarter ended.

Analysis: Campbell continued to get good protection and continued to dissect the Rams’ defense with short- and medium-range passes. Portis mixed in a couple of good runs, and it was the same story again as the Redskins moved the ball only to encounter red zone difficulties. From the 7, the playcalling ranged from the boring (two runs by Portis) to the questionable (the option pass by Portis). On defense, the Redskins pressured Bulger at times but also allowed him enough time to make some key completions.

BY THE NUMBERS

0 Completions — on one passing attempt — for Redskins running back Clinton Portis, whose option throw intended for Chris Cooley sailed over his head.

Fourth quarter

What happened: With the Rams driving, safety Chris Horton popped Donnie Avery after a catch and forced a fumble. Carlos Rogers recovered to give Washington the ball on its 6. But Campbell was sacked, and the Redskins moved backward to the doorstep of their end zone and punted. The Rams, with good field position at the Washington 49, went three and out. The Redskins took over on their 20 with 9:15 left and chewed up some clock, driving to the St. Louis 20, where they faced a fourth-and-1. What to do? Give it to Portis, who gained 9 yards. But on fourth-and-1 from the 2, the Redskins went for it again, and this time Portis lost 2 yards. The Rams got the ball on the 4 with 1:55 left, but Bulger threw four incompletions.

Analysis: Throughout the game, the Redskins moved the ball well but couldn’t get into the end zone. On the final drive that resulted in turning the ball over on downs, Campbell threw well and managed the offense, but the result was the same. No touchdowns. But it didn’t matter against the Rams, an inept team that played the Redskins closer than expected.

BY THE NUMBERS

25 Yards gained by Ladell Betts on a screen pass, the Redskins’ longest play of the day.

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