Despite having more rushing yards, more receiving yards, a greater time of possession, and two interceptions on New Orleans, Washington struggled to make the most of their opportunities and trailed until the last six minutes of the fourth quarter. K Shaun Suisham missed two field goals in the first half and the team failed to make a two-point conversion to tie the game. However, the heat, the turnovers, and stopping the Saints’ running game proved to be the keys to victory as Washington coach Jim Zorn got his first win.
The Redskins’ offense took the field first and drove to the New Orleans 31 yard line with QB Jason Campbell (24/36, 321, 1 TD, 0 INT) making his first five pass attempts. However, Suisham missed his first field goal of the day on a 49-yard attempt. In the first half, Suisham had five total attempts, making three.
Redskins WR Santana Moss had 64 total yards and RB Clinton Portis 44 yards rushing, giving the team a total of 203 yards but Washington trailed New Orleans 10 to 9 in the first half, following a one-yard touchdown run by Saints RB Pierre Thomas and a 49-yard field goal by Saints’ K Martin Gramatica at the end of the half.
The Redskins defense was effective at stopping the running game as the Saints had only 21 yards at the end of the half. The defense was also able to stop the Saints’ first two drives ending them with a fumble and an interception.
Antwaan Randle-El fumbled a punt return in the second quarter that set up the Saints’ first touchdown.
In the second half, the Saints quickly gained two touchdowns, one a 19-yard catch by WR Robert Meachem (his first regular season reception) and the second a 55-yard punt return by Reggie Bush.
Washington tried to tie the game after RB Clinton Portis scored the first of his two touchdowns but the two-point conversion attempt was intercepted. Portis ran for 9 yards with six minutes left in the game to score his second touchdown.
The key play for the Redskins was when WR Santana Moss caught a 67-yard pass for a touchdown with less than four minutes to go in the game. It was their only play of the drive and put them ahead 29 to 24.
The heat index was definitely a factor, rising above 100 degrees and the Saints‘ defense was visibly tired. New Orleans also managed only 55 rushing yards for the day.
Both teams have a record now of one win and one loss. Washington will host Arizona next week and New Orleans will play in Denver.