Forward Progress

Washington amasses 381 yards with an efficient, well-balanced offense and a banged up Redskins defense limits a high-powered Dallas attack for a victory.
By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 29, 2008

IRVING, Tex., Sept. 28 -- His work on the field completed, Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell still had obligations to meet Sunday after playing a major role in a 26-24 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

As a large group of Redskins fans converged at the railing atop the tunnel at Texas Stadium, Campbell stopped to chat before joining Washington's latest locker-room celebration, thanking them for their support throughout the biggest victory of his career. It appeared the appreciation was mutual.

The crowd continued to chant his name as he disappeared beneath them, a fitting ending for Campbell after his strong performance in the first half helped propel the Redskins to an impressive victory against their biggest NFC East rival in front of 63,462.

Campbell continued his strong run that began in the second half of a Week 2 victory over the New Orleans Saints, leading the Redskins on three consecutive scoring drives to close the first half and put them ahead 17-10.

"The first half, right there, man, Jason really got us going," Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels said. "He was good the whole game, he's been really good, but we needed to start fast and he got us going. He's definitely leading us, and we're just following him."

He managed things well in the second half as Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, wide receiver Terrell Owens and the rest of the NFL's top offense (statistically, at least) rallied to tie the score, but never took the lead.

Wide receiver Santana Moss had a game-high eight receptions for 145 yards, and place kicker Shaun Suisham kicked two of his three second-half field goals -- Suisham was perfect in four attempts -- in the fourth quarter.

Running back Clinton Portis also delivered down the stretch in his first 100-yard game of the season and set a franchise record with his 20th career 100-yard game. Washington's young defensive backs also performed well while veteran cornerback Shawn Springs and Fred Smoot were slowed by injuries.

Dallas failed to recover an onside kick after pulling within two points, and the Redskins (3-1) ran out the clock for the third straight week in their third consecutive victory. In their final regular season trip to Texas Stadium, Washington handed Dallas -- considered by many league observers to be the NFL's best team -- its first loss in four games and won for only the second time in its last 13 games here.

"You know, when you look at the fans celebrating, when you look at the way we're playing, this is what it's all about," Campbell said. "We're staying together and we keep fighting, so we can accomplish anything when we do that. But to come down here in a rivalry game like this and everything, it just means a lot for the organization, our fans and just everybody that cares about the Redskins."

The Cowboys will move into a new state-of-the art stadium in Arlington, Tex., next season, and Campbell's latest big step forward helped the Redskins leave here feeling good for a change.

"Where Jason shined, he stayed concentrated in difficult situations against a tremendous defense," Coach Jim Zorn said. "He didn't have any of these ups and downs, these sways of emotion. I always talk to him about, 'You bear down. Bear down.'

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