It was beginning to slip away for the Washington Redskins.
The Carolina Panthers had just answered Washington’s
go-ahead touchdown, which came on a pass from Jason Campbell to Antwaan Randle
El, with a TD drive of their own. It was a grinder, with Carolina taking 15
plays and 7:07 to move 74 yards. The payoff came on Jake Delhomme’s touchdown
pass to Steve Smith on third down at the seven. It looked like Delhomme had
thrown the pass high, as he had often during the game, but Smith went up and
got it, tapping his toes inbounds before falling out of the end zone.
That put Carolina up 13-10 with 7:55 left to play. On the
Redskins first play from scrimmage things got worse for the home team. Jason
Campbell threw his first NFL interception. He was bound and determined to throw
deep to Santana Moss despite the fact that Moss was well covered by Richard Marshall. It was an easy pick for Marshall and the Panthers had the ball right
back at their 27 yard line. The Washington defense, which had just been out
there for a long Carolina drive, had to go right back out on the field. At that
point it wasn’t hard to envision the Panthers putting together another
time-consuming drive and scoring again with very little time left on the clock.
But the Redskins defense made a stand.
1-10-CAR 27 (7:39) 45-B.Hoover up the middle to CAR
28 for 1 yard (99-A.Carter, 95-J.Salave'a)
This was a quick hitter up the middle to fullback Brad Hoover. Andre Carter had quick recognition on the play and motored down the
line to wrap up Hoover.
2-9-CAR 28 (6:57) 17-J.Delhomme pass incomplete deep
middle to 18-D.Carter (22-C.Rogers)
Delhomme pump faked and went to Drew Carter on a go route.
Carlos Rogers was with him all the way and jumped when the ball got there. The
ball ended up bounding off of Carter’s face mask and it fell incomplete.
3-9-CAR 28 (6:49) 17-J.Delhomme pass short right to
89-S.Smith to CAR 35 for 7 yards (24-S.Springs)
Delhomme took a short drop and, while there were Redskins
all around him and Marcus Washington was headed towards him on a delayed blitz,
he still had time in the pocket. He found the slippery Steve Smith running
across the middle about three yards shy of the first down. Apparently figuring
that he could elude Shawn Springs, who was right behind him, Delhomme fired the
ball to Smith. Delhomme figured wrong as Springs immediately wrapped Smith up
and brought him to the ground well short of the line to make.
The Panthers punted and Washington took over at its own 20 with
5:51 left to play. On first down Betts went up the gut for 12 yards, putting
him over 100 yards on the day. Two plays later following a two-yard Betts run
and an incomplete pass it was third and eight at the 34.
As Campbell listened for the play in his helmet he got the
formation to call but the signal cut out before he could hear the play called. He
told his teammates in the huddle that he couldn’t hear the play call. The
Redskins had only one timeout left, having burned one defensively and having
lost one on the unsuccessful challenge of Smith’s touchdown. Someone helped the
young quarterback out.
“Call a play,” a voice said.
So Campbell did. The one he called had Brandon Lloyd as the
first option but when Campbell saw him covered he stepped up into a Panther
blitz and fired a strike to Cooley at midfield. The tight end had dropped what
may have been a touchdown pass in the third quarter but this time he held on. There
were two Carolina defenders in the area. Cooley ran through Chris Gamble’s attempted
arm tackle and safety Mike Minter wasn’t in position. Cooley easily broke his
try to bring him down. By the time he got to the 40 he was in the clear with
Lloyd trailing to provide interference. Lloyd gave Marshall a little shove so
that Cooley could glide across the goal line. The point after made it 17-13
with 4:26 left and a couple of defensive stops later the Redskins had their fourth
win of the season.