A cast of less famous names led by Mike Sellers, Chris Cooley,
Ryan Clark, Ladell Betts, Derrick Dockery, and -- OK, this is a
popular one -- LaVar Arrington helped lead the Redskins to a 17-10
victory Sunday night over the Philadelphia Eagles, who have lost
three of four and are in danger of slipping out of the playoff
After the game, Washington quarterback Mark Brunell couldn't
resist drawing the contrast between the Redskins -- who are having
their most harmonious season in years -- and the saga-plagued
Eagles, who suspended All-Pro receiver Owens on Saturday.
"As far as the T.O. thing, we weren't thinking about it, but
I'll tell you what: We are about team and we're not about anything
that comes before team," Brunell said. "If we had any players
that were trying to get all the attention and trying to be the
focus, we wouldn't stand for it. ... Tonight was a perfect example.
We didn't have any huge stats. We won that game as a team."
The day was filled with off-field Eagles news: Owens, suspended
indefinitely for comments he made about the organization and
Donovan McNabb, was involved in a locker-room fight with former
teammate Hugh Douglas last week; and running back Brian Westbrook,
pining for a new contract since training camp, was given a
Then the Eagles (4-4) took the field and fell to sole possession
of last place in the NFC East, behind the New York Giants (6-2),
Dallas (5-3) and Washington (5-3). Then again, Philadelphia lost by
28 at Denver last week with Owens on the field.
"Obviously it is tough losing a guy of his caliber, of his
ability, but I think we might be better off," McNabb said. "I
think what we did tonight, we showed that we played well together.
I think we also showed, given the opportunity, that guys can make
plays for us."
In truth, the Eagles didn't seem to miss Owens -- unless he could
have transformed into a running back. McNabb completed passes to
seven receivers, and Owens' replacement in the starting lineup,
rookie Reggie Brown, caught a 56-yard pass for his first career
touchdown. He finished with five receptions for 94 yards.
But Westbrook gained only 24 yards in a season-high 17 carries,
more evidence why Philadelphia entered the game with an unseemly
imbalance of passing the ball a league-high 72 percent of the time.
But Owens was Topic A in the locker room.
"He's the best wide receiver in the league," defensive end
N.D. Kalu said. "Of course, he is going to help, but if he's not
fitting in with our system and our rules, then it is just not going
Brunell completed 21 of 29 passes for 224 yards. Cooley caught
seven passes for a career-high 85 yards. Clinton Portis ran 21
times for 67 yards and a touchdown. Sellers had a 1-yard TD run,
only the second carry of his six-year career. While those numbers
aren't spectacular, they sure were a change of pace after last
week's 36-0 blowout against the New York Giants.
"It seemed like it was a guy here, guy there that made plays,"
said coach Joe Gibbs, who gave game balls to the whole team and
added a special game ball for Dockery for falling on a fumble that
kept the winning drive alive in the third quarter. "It wasn't any
one person -- everyone contributed."
Clark made the final big play, intercepting McNabb's pass with
1:25 remaining. The Eagles had threatened overtime by moving the
ball from their own 15-yard line before Clark snagged the ball on
fourth-and-4 at Washington's 7.
Even Arrington was a more humble presence, having conceded last
week that the coaches were right to bring him along slowly back
from his knee injury. Arrington's benching earlier this season was
a team distraction, but he completed his return from exile Sunday
by starting the game and serving as a team captain. His six tackles
tied for the team lead with Phillip Daniels, who played on a sore
And the whole team showed resilience -- a week after Gibbs' worst
defeat in his coaching career.
"I'm really proud of our players to bounce back after what
happened last week," Gibbs said.
McNabb played with several injuries, including a sports hernia
and bruised rib. He was still agile, but he often found it hard to
locate receivers against a defense that didn't have to worry about
the run. He finished 22-for-35 for 304 yards.
Brown's touchdown gave the Eagles an early lead, but the
Redskins answered with a field goal and a touchdown in the second
quarter. Cooley's 18-yard reception and a 39-yard pass interference
penalty on Lito Sheppard set up Sellers' 1-yard TD run, only the
second time he's carried the ball in his six-year career.
The Eagles tied the game with a field goal in the third quarter,
but Betts led the Redskins on the winning drive in the third
quarter. He returned the kickoff to Philadelphia's 48, then caught
a pass out of the backfield for a 26-yard gain, setting the stage
for Portis' 6-yard TD run.
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