Zorn's Fire Keeps Redskins Hot

Santana Moss scores a pair of touchdowns, including an 80-yard score off a punt return, and Clinton Portis eclipses 100 yards agains as the Redskins upend the Lions to make it through the season's first half with a 6-2 mark.
By Mike Wise
Monday, October 27, 2008

DETROIT Before another tight victory over an inferior team is parsed and dissected beyond recognition, let's be clear:

The 6-2 Washington Redskins have won three of their first four road games under a very passionate rookie head coach, Jim Zorn, who proved he's unafraid to air out the team's biggest star on camera.

That player just happens to be the league's leading rusher, who on Sunday tied O.J. Simpson as the only players to twice gain more than 120 yards in five straight games. You've got to love the candor of Clinton Portis, who after the feat acknowledged: "It's great company. It's one of the few times you can say O.J. is great company."

Did we mention they beat a dreadful Detroit Lions team without their best offensive lineman, Chris Samuels, who smartly didn't dress because his inflamed knee blew up like a grapefruit in warmups?

Or that it's Week 8 and Jason Campbell still hasn't thrown an interception?

Or that Shaun Suisham scored more than half of his team's points, booting four field goals -- including three money kicks from 42 to 47 yards -- in front of three busloads of Canadians who came to see Ontario's own play closer to home than he's ever been?

Sideline dust-up aside, whether they drilled Detroit or not, this team, which barely anyone outside of Ashburn believed would be 6-2 at this point, set itself up for a monster "Monday Night Football" encounter with the Steelers at FedEx Field on election eve.

Outside of that blip against the Rams two weeks ago, it's pretty much nitpicking with this crew.

"We'd love to be 7-1, don't get me wrong," said London Fletcher, the veteran linebacker who essentially ended this game when he popped Calvin Johnson on fourth down, sending the Lions' wide receiver sprawling backward, yards short of the first-down marker. "But let's not lose sight of the fact that we've gone on the road and won three games already.

"Are we satisfied? No. There is still a lot of work to do at the halfway point. But we've put ourselves in a very good position at this moment."

The greedy legions probably wanted to see 42-0 or at least 35-14 Sunday. But this was the perfect argument that weekly pro football rankings truly mean nothing.

If you want to rate the best team in the NFL, let's talk in February. The Patriots understand this. They were favored to annihilate everyone last year. It got so ridiculous that had they played in a different era, New England would have been favored against Sparta and the Persian army, provided Tom Brady had a bye week in between.

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