Against All Odds

AP Photo-Tony Gutierrez

A few days before the game, Redskins defensive boss Greg Blache caused a chuckle when he reminded reporters of others who overcome long odds en route to victory.

"When we started this country," he said, "I bet the Colonists were underdogs to Britain too. We don't speak the King's English so there's a chance for us."

Laughter followed. Nobody, it seemed, really gave the Redskins a chance. Except for the Redskins themselves.

Nobody should doubt them anymore. Not after a convincing 26-24 win over Dallas in which the Redskins dominated most of the game. They held the ball for 38 minutes, nine seconds; they shut down Dallas' running attack; they had a runner and receiver surpass 100 yards.

Washington improved to 3-1 with the win and truly announced itself as a team to reckon with. It's one thing to beat New Orleans and Arizona at home; nice wins both. It's another to beat Dallas on the road.

The Cowboys entered averaging 32 points and 440 yards a game. They fell eight points and 96 yards shy of those averages.

"It was a brawl," said Redskins coach Jim Zorn, the first Redskins coach to win at Dallas in his first game since George Allen in 1971. "We were willing to lay it on the line."

Quarterback Jason Campbell played another strong game. He completed 20 of 31 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Better yet he didn't turn the ball over for a fourth straight game.

"To play in such a pressure-cooker situation is tremendous for him," Zorn said. "That's another step."

So, too, is winning a big game on the road. The stars were all over: receiver Santana Moss caught eight passes fro 145 yards; running back Clinton Portis rushed for 121 yards on 21 carries.

The Redskins pulled away at the end of the third quarter, starting with a 33-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham, one of four on the day. That snapped a 17-17 tie.

He added two field goals in the fourth quarter, from 33 and 29 yards for a nine-point lead late in the game.

Dallas got within two on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin with 1:42 to play. But the Cowboys failed to recover an onsides kick. The Redskins tied the game at 7 in the second quarter when Campbell hit James Thrash from three yards out. Dallas had taken the early lead on a Tony Romo to Jason Witten touchdown pass.

Antwaan Randle El later caught a two-yard pass on third down, Campbell declining to find his first two reads on the play. Suisham added a 20-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead.

Washington's defense did its job despite Dallas passing for 300 yards. They made the Cowboys one-dimensional, holding Marion Barber to 26 yards rushing. The linebackers consistently made proper fits.

Terrell Owens had 71 yards receiving on seven catches, but corner Shawn Springs smothered him in the first half before leaving in the second with a calf injury.

Corner Carlos Rogers did an excellent job on him thereafter. Owens could not shake free on any deep routes.

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