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
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
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.