Collins Shows His Mettle

By Mike Wise
Monday, December 17, 2007

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Andrea Collins was not due with her second child until Dec. 29. Maybe the only person more expectant was her husband, who has been due for, like, 10 years.

But Friday she gave birth in Boston to a 6-pound, 15-ounce boy, and Todd Collins was astonishingly there to see it. Two nights later, he started and won his first NFL game in forever, or at least 1997.

"The last couple of weeks have been insane, you know?" the quarterback said in a cold New Jersey stadium after he directed the Redskins to a victory they so badly needed over the Giants Sunday. "Just getting a chance to play. The baby. Now this start. Now it's pretty good. I'm not complaining."

Little Jack, who presumably came 15 days early for the momentous occasion, should know straight-up: Under very trying circumstances, your Pop did good.

Collins did not have big numbers, throwing for 166 yards and completing 8 of 25 passes in this pivotal 22-10 win. But he's a man who knows how to win in bad weather. Born in Walpole, Mass., he's a former Michigan man who also played in Buffalo, the franchise for whom he last started a game 10 years ago.

This wintry mix of cold and wind was his kind of game. He directed five scoring drives. When he wasn't dropping back, Clinton Portis carried the team and the ball, 25 times for 126 yards and a touchdown. In this kind of weather, the run-pass balance was skewed the way Coach Joe Gibbs likes it, with 10 more rushes than passing attempts.

Toddball has no discerning pattern two games in; except wins. He's 2-0 as this team's primary quarterback and 1-0 in games after taking the benevolent owner's plane from Washington to Boston after practice Friday, when he first received a harried call from his wife.

"From the tone of her voice, I knew she was in the hospital, ready to have the baby," Collins said. "But she was trying not to get me alarmed. So I called her back and said, 'Where are you?'

"They're going to induce at 3 o'clock because my blood pressure is too high," Andrea told her husband. "She says, 'Don't even think about it. I don't want you to come. You got too much to worry about this weekend.'

"And of course my mind was spinning. I said, 'I got to get up there.' How many times do you see this? I'm not going to miss the birth of my baby. I also don't want her to be alone.

"I told [quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor]. He talked to Coach Gibbs. From there, I guess they brought it up the chain. Next thing I know, I'm on the flight."

Owner Daniel Snyder had a car waiting at Logan Airport for Collins. "Jumped into the car and drove directly to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston," he said. "I got there at 4:45. My wife was just thrilled I made it. They started to inducing at 5 o'clock. And straight up at 8 o'clock out came Jack."

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