By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 27, 2006
Now that Jason Campbell is the starting quarterback, rookie linebacker Rocky McIntosh has been asked repeatedly about when he will crack the starting lineup.
The day did not come yesterday -- Warrick Holdman started at weak-side linebacker and played the whole game -- but McIntosh made one of the biggest plays of the game, partially blocking a punt and setting up a score.
With the Redskins trailing 6-3 with 4 minutes 18 seconds remaining in the third quarter, McIntosh sneaked around the left end and deflected the punt of the Panthers' Jason Baker. The ball traveled 11 yards, and the Redskins took over at the Carolina 36.
Seven plays later, Campbell hit Antwaan Randle El in the end zone, giving the Redskins a 10-6 lead.
"You knew that teams were going to go out there and punt away from Randle El, so we knew we had to go get after them and try to block the punt, and we did," McIntosh said.
In a season full of missed opportunities, it was the second big special teams play by the Redskins at home in a month. In the waning seconds Nov. 5 against Dallas, Troy Vincent blocked a Mike Vanderjagt field goal attempt, setting up the winning kick in a 22-19 win.Randle El's Breakthrough
The wide receiving corps, ostensibly the Redskins' deepest position, was hurting. Santana Moss practiced sparingly and was upgraded to probable despite a nagging hamstring injury, while David Patten was inactive for a sixth straight game.
But Randle El's only catch of the game gave the Redskins the lead. On third and goal from the 4, Campbell first looked for Brandon Lloyd, who was covered. The second option in the play was Chris Cooley, who also was covered. He then hit Randle El for the touchdown.
It was Randle El's second touchdown reception of the season. Lloyd, who caught the first pass of the game and was shut out thereafter, and Patten are the only wideouts to have not caught a touchdown pass this season.New Threads
The Redskins' fashion statement of wearing white pants with white jerseys ended yesterday, nearly one year to the date since Nov. 27, 2005, the last time the Redskins wore their traditional burgundy pants with white jerseys at home.
"It started out in practice," said defensive end Renaldo Wynn. "And you could see the defensive guys running to the ball in those red pants, guys got hyped."
Last year, after losing to San Diego at home, the Redskins began their playoff run Dec. 4 in St. Louis when Clinton Portis suggested that the Redskins wear white pants to accompany their road white uniforms. It was a radical look and the superstitious Redskins did not lose a game for the rest of the season.
But despite losing five of their first seven games, seven of 10 and Portis -- the catalyst of the colors, out for the season on injured reserve -- the Redskins still went white-on-white in last week's loss at Tampa.
"Two or three guys came up to me and said, 'Coach, I think we're ready for a [uniform] change,' " Gibbs said. "And I said, 'I agree with you.' "Injury Report
Moss (hamstring) still was not completely healthy, finishing with three catches for 12 yards. Running back Ladell Betts was sidelined in the second quarter, but returned. Initial team reports said Betts had the wind knocked out of him. "It wasn't true," Betts said. "I took a shot. I thought I was on Mars. I needed to clear my head. There was a lot of hitting going on out there."