Redskins 411: Defense Makes the Plays

Phillip Daniels gets to Brees

Redskins 411 12.18.06--The Redskins defense went into the Superdome and did what few have done this year--shut down Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense.

 
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A Redskins defense that had been torched all season came into the lions' den known as the Louisiana Superdome to take on a Saints offense that was tops in the league overall and in the air.

Washington was 4-9 and had lost seven of its past nine games. New Orleans was 9-4, coming off a trouncing of NFC East leading Dallas and was looking to clinch its first division title in six years in front of fans starved for any good news as they slowly recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina 15 months ago.

So naturally, the Redskins, ranked 23rd overall and 22nd against the pass, shut down top-rated quarterback Drew Brees and the rest of the Saints' high-powered attack.

"Today we just made plays," safety Troy Vincent. "The balls bounced our way. We've been preparing properly, but we've been preparing the same way the last month. There was nothing miraculous, nothing magical about what we did. We were just the better team for three hours. Everyone in the world didn't give us a chance and rightfully so. We were a 4-9 team and they were a 9-4 team."

Assistant head coach Gregg Williams agreed that the formula was pretty simple. It was the execution that mattered.

"Our secondary challenged the receivers, which gave our front a chance to be disruptive and when our front got there, they were disruptive," Williams said. "(The pass) rush and coverage work hand in hand. This is a team that does a great job of getting the ball out very quick. Our front had to be physical and they were. And we had to make some difference-making plays and we were able to make some pretty crucial plays."

The first of those plays came after Brees had found Marques Colston for 24 yards on a third-and-19 hole from his own 6-yard line trailing just 13-10 with 10:36 still remaining. When Rogers beat receiver Devery Henderson and intercepted his first pass of the year.

"I was just sitting back and I turned around and (Brees) threw the ball to me," Rogers said. "Catching it was the biggest thing."

Washington's offense responded by driving 61 yards in 10 plays for Shaun Suisham's 22-yard field goal, leaving the Saints still down just six points with 4:09 left.

New Orleans then converted a fourth-and-5 and a third-and-11 to move to Washington's 19 but managed just three yards before Rogers was the hero again. He prevented Terrance Copper from catching Brees' pass into the end zone on fourth down with 53 seconds left.

"When you're challenging and making them earn every single catch and play, you just kind of hope we're going to make one ourselves and we did," Williams said.

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