<span>Landover, Md. – The Washington Redskins (1-1) rallied from a 24-15 deficit to start the fourth quarter and defeated the injury depleted New Orleans Saints (1-1), 29-24, at FedEx Field.
The Saints' aspirations of starting 2-0 for the seventh time in franchise history were dashed after the Saints committed three costly turnovers, all of which were converted into points for the home team.
The Saints were out gained 455 yards to 250 by the Redskins, but still held a 24-15 lead following RB Reggie Bush's 55 yard punt return for a touchdown on the second to last play of the third quarter.
But Washington used a power running back, led by RB Clinton Portis, and churned out 149 on the ground overall, while the Saints ran for 55 yards. Washington QB Jason Campbell completed 24-of-36 passes for 321 yards with one touchdown pass on the day, while his leading receiver was WR Santana Moss (7-164-23.4 average-1 TD). It was Moss and Campbell that single-handily erased the Saints' 24-22 lead with just over three minutes to play when the two hooked up for a 67 yard scoring play.
The Saints, playing without four defensive starters, lost the battle of time of possession, 34:14 to 25:46, and were unable to stop the Redskins from scoring 14 points in the final frame.
Reggie Bush had raced 55 yards--untouched--on a punt return late in the third quarter to give the Saints a 24-15 lead over home team. The Saints' offense, through, could only muster 44 yards of offense in the fourth quarter to the Redskins' 169 yards and two scores.
Washington RB Clinton Portis had scored on a nine-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter, pulling the Redskins to within two points of the Saints, 17-15, before a packed crowd.
Saints WR Robert Meachem's first career reception was a particularly memorable one, as he hauled in a Drew Brees pass for 19-yards out for the score. The touchdown grab, which came early in the third quarter, gave the Saints a 17-9 lead after Martin Gramatica's extra point.
Gramatica had ended the first half of the game by hammering a 49-yard field goal that has given the Saints a 10-9 lead over the Washington Redskins. It is the third time in Gramatica's five games as a Saint that he has ended the first half with a field goal of 48 yards of longer.
The Saints' offense had picked up 59 yards on their final possession, which managed 112 yard of offense to the Redskins' 203 yards of total offense throughout the first half.
The Redskins took advantage of two Saints turnovers and connected on three-of-four field goal opportunities, giving the home team a 9-7 lead with just over a minute to play in the first half.
The Saints' first scoring drive of the game came after they took advantage of a Redskins fumbled punt return that was forced by Josh Bullocks and recovered by Troy Evans and marched 27 yards in six plays to take a 7-6 lead over the Redskins.
The Redskins had taken advantage of two turnovers (one interception and one fumble) and converted them into two mid-range field goal and led the Saints 6-0 early in the second quarter.
The Redskins' initial scoring drive, which came on their second offensive series, was set up by a Saints' turnover in Washington territory.
Washington accepted the opening kickoff and put together a 12-play, 49-yard drive, advancing as far as the Saints' 31 yard-line. The Saints halted the Redskins due in large part to the one-yard tackle for a loss by rookie DT Sedrick Ellis, who drilled RB Clinton Portis on first down and a third down pressure by LB Scott Shanle that forced QB Jason Campbell to throw the ball away. Washington kicker Shaun Suisham missed a 49-yard field goal wide to the left and the Saints started their first drive at their own 39.
The Saints appeared to be stopped on their first third down conversion when Brees and WR Henderson connected for a five-yard gain. However Redskins CB Carlos Rogers threw Henderson to the ground out-of-bounds and in the middle of the Saints' bench and was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Saints, though, experienced misfortune of their own on a third down in opposing territory, as Brees hit TE Jeremy Shockey for what would have been a first down, but Shockey was stripped of the ball by LB Rocky McIntosh and Washington rookie S Chris Horton recovered the ball at the Saints' 33.
Washington took advantage of the Saints' turnover and drove 63 yards in 11 plays. The biggest play on the drive came on a 27-yard end around by WR Santana Moss that took the ball from midfield to the Saints' 23. The Saints stopped the Redskins inside the 10-yard line and the home team settled for a 22-yard field goal by Suisham.
The Redskins burned all of their timeouts by late in the first quarter, as QB Jason Campbell twice was forced to call timeouts on third downs.
Washington's Horton again was the beneficiary of a Saints' turnover, as a pass from Brees to Shockey was deflected by CB Fred Smoot and intercepted by a diving Horton at the Saints' 27. The Saints' defense through stopped the Redskins and forced another field goal, this time a 36-yard effort from Suisham that gave the Redskins a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Saints were stopped by the Redskins, in large part due to a 12-yard sack by Jason Taylor. The Saints' Steve Weatherford booted a 52 yard punt that was field by Randle El, who returned the ball six yards but was drilled by S Josh Bullocks, who also stripped him of the ball and an alert Tory Evans caught the ball in mid-air at the Saints' 27. On second down found Shockey over the middle for a 14-yard gain at the Washington 13. On second down the Brees hit Thomas for 11 yards to the Washington 2. The Redskins were guilty of a hold on first down and the ball was advanced half the distance to the one. Thomas took the ball to the edge of the end zone on first down and then plunged over the right side of the line for the Saints' first lead of the game, 7-6, following Gramatica's extra point.
Washington began their next drive and trailing for the first time in the game and started it off with a 36-yard kickoff return by Rock Cartwright to their own 40 yard-line. Campbell hit Moss for a 14-yard gain on second down and then two plays later were the beneficiaries of a 15-yard penalty when Ellis was flagged for striking Campbell's facemask. Washington couldn't get the ball any further than the Saints' 12 after Jonathan Vilma and Kevin Kaesviharn stopped Campbell on a scramble short of the first down sticks.
Suisham, though, missed a 30-yard field goal wide to the left after holder Durant Brooks appeared to bobble the long snap and throw off the timing of the play.
New Orleans then started at their own 20 and went three downs and out and were forced to punt the ball away to the Redskins' Randle El with 3:18 left in the second quarter.
The Redskins started at their own 33 yard-line but without any timeouts. Ladell Betts picked up six yards and then Campbell hit Chris Colley for an eight-yard completion. Campbell connected with veteran James Thrash on an eight-yard completion before the two-minute warning, taking the ball to the Saints' 45 yard-line. Campbell then hit Cooley for a 26-yard completion to the Saints' 18. Dunbar then broke up a pass intended for Cooley in the end zone. Portis then carried for one-yard and the Saints called a timeout to stop the clock with 1:15 remaining in the first half and with the Redskins at the Saints' 17. New Orleans then flushed Campbell out to his left on third down and forced the former Auburn quarterback to throw the ball away.
Suisham hit a 35-yard field goal to end the drive, capping an eight play, 50-yard drive that gave the Redskins a 9-7 lead.
The Saints though showed their two-minute offensive prowess, driving 59 yards in seven plays. The biggest plays on the drive were a 22-yard completion to WR David Patten and a 12-yard completion to Reggie Bush. Bush touched the ball four times on the drive for 37 yards, including a clutch 12-yard gain on the second to last play of the drive that gave the Saints the ball at the Washington 31. Gramatica then hammered a 49-yard field goal through the uprights, the third time in his five games as a Saints he has ended the first half of a game with a field goal of 48 yards or longer. His field goal gave the Saints a 10-9 lead as the clock expired.
The Saints took the opening kickoff of the second half and started at their own 20 and converted an early first down for 18 yards after Pierre Thomas snuck out of the backfield into the flat and Brees caught the Redskins in a blitz. Brees hit Campbell for the tight end's first reception of the season that picked up 12 yards. Deuce McAllister then saw his first action of the season and picked up five yards to the Washington 42. On a third-and-five, Brees fired a 12-yard pass to David Patten for the first down and then came back and hit Bush for a four-yard gain. Patten then caught a seven yard slant from Brees for the first down to the Redskins' 19.
On the next play Robert Meachem made his first career reception on a 19-yard touchdown from Brees in the end zone.
Washington, trailing by their largest margin of the day (eight points) began their first drive of the second half at their own 20 and picked up eight yards on a completion to TE Chris Cooley and then four yards from Portis. The running back from Miami then added 13 yards and Moss picked up 27 yards on a crossing route. Betts then picked up 14 more yards to the Saints' 17.
Betts picked up four yards on first down. On second down Campbell nearly was sacked by Vilma as he rolled to this right, bringing up a third-and-six. Saints DE Will Smith sacked Campbell, but the Saints' Jason Craft was guilty of a holding call and the Redskins were awarded a first and goal from the eight yard-line. Bullocks tackled Portis for a loss of one yard on a screen, but on second down Portis followed the block of FB Mike Sellers and found the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown run.
The Redskins, trailing 17-15, went for a two-point conversion, but Vilma intercepted the ball in the end zone.
The Saints gained on first down on their ensuing series, but were forced to punt and Washington set up camp at their own 12. Portis picked up six yards to the 18. Betts then picked up two yards on an inside handoff. On third-and-two, reserve S Chris Reis dropped Campbell for a three-yard loss on a sack and Washington was forced to punt for the first time this afternoon.
Bush dropped back, fielded rookie punter Durant Brooks' 38-yard line drive punt, and made two midfield moves and picked several key blocks and went untouched 55 yards for a touchdown, that gave the Saints a 24-15 lead with :02 remaining in the third quarter.
DT Kendrick Clancy and Vilma stopped Betts for a loss of two yards and rookie Tracy Porter, forcing an incompletion, closely defended a second down pass. On third down Campbell completed a short pass to Betts for a gain of eight yards and the Redskins elected to punt it away, hearing it loudly from their fans, who wanted the team to go for it on fourth down.
With 13:30 left in the game the Saints led 24-15 and had the ball on their own 28 yard-line. Bush took a handoff and picked up a hard two yards up the middle and then Brees hit Lance Moore for a gain of seven yards. On third-and-one Brees fooled the Washington defense on a naked bootleg and picked up nine yards. The Saints then looked for a knock punch and nearly got it when Brees almost connected with Henderson for a deep connection, but S LaRon Landry got over in coverage at the last second and broke up the pass. The Saints weren't able to convert the third down and were forced to punt over holding the ball for nearly three minutes.
The Redskins started at their own 18, but were not there very long, as Will Smith beat his blocker cleanly and dropped Campbell for a loss of 12 yards. Campbell hit Cooley for a 23-yard gain, as he found a seam in the Saints' zone. Campbell then found Randle El for 17 yards to the Redskins' 46. TE Fred Davis then caught a six yard pass and Campbell found Moss for a 25-yard completion to the Saints' 23. The Saints used a timeout to regroup defensively with 7:08 remaining in the game and still holding the nine-point advantage.
Campbell then found Randle El along the sideline for an 11-yard completion to the Saints' 12. Vilma then tackled Portis after a four-yard gain. Portis then took a delayed handoff for an eight-yard touchdown and Washington kicked the extra point to pull within two points, 24-22.
The Saints went three plays and out and Washington started at their own 37 yard-line. Jason Campbell then hit a streaking Santana Moss for a 67-yard TD and the Redskins took a 29-24 lead with 3:30 to go following the extra point.
The Saints started at their own and picked up 12 yards on a second down pass from Brees to Reggie Bush. But Brees' next pass attempt was batted at the line of scrimmage by DT Demetric Evans and intercepted by Horton, who returned the football 10 yards to the New Orleans 43.
Notes: As expected, the Saints de-activated the following players before the game: WR Marques Colston, CB Randall Gay, RB Aaron Stecker, CB Mike McKenzie, S Roman Harper, LB Scott Fujita, T Jermon Bushrod and DT Antwan Lake.
The Redskins deactivated QB Colt Brennan (3rd QB), S Reed Doughty, S Kareem Moore, LB Khary Campbell, LB Marcus Washington, G-T Jason Fabini, G-T Chad Rinehart and DE Rob Jackson.
Saints & Payton Reach Long-Term Accord: Head Coach Sean Payton reached an agreement on a contract extension, it was announced by Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis. Payton, whose original contract was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2009 season, has now been extended through the 2012 season. "We are excited to get this done," Loomis said.
The Saints won the coin toss and elected to defer to accept the kickoff to begin the second half of the game, rather than the opening half.