LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Seeking his first win as an NFL starting
quarterback, Jason Campbell faced a vital third down with his team
trailing late in the fourth quarter.
Through his helmet transmitter, he heard his position coach call
Then silence. The transmitter went dead. Campbell had to call
the play himself, based on the players sent onto the field.
"We could tell that there was something wrong," right tackle
Jon Jansen said. "But he picked up and just took us out there and
we ran the play, and it was big."
The play went for 66 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Chris
Cooley caught the pass over the middle near midfield, escaped two
tacklers and ran down the sideline for the winning score in the
Washington Redskins' 17-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers on
"I didn't hear the play that was called," Campbell said. "I
just tried to call one of the plays that we worked on all week that
would give us an opportunity to make a first down. Fortunately, God
was with me when I made that call, and Cooley did a great job of
running after the catch."
The victory broke a two-game losing streak for the Redskins
(4-7) and made Campbell a winner in his second start, following
Mark Brunell's benching. The Redskins responded well to coach Joe
Gibbs' call to return to his principles of running the ball and
stopping the run, but it took the big play to Cooley on a
third-and-8 with 4:26 remaining to beat the Panthers (6-5) in a
game dominated by defense.
"I felt like today it was kind of our style of football,"
Gibbs said. "And it was good to get back to that."
For 3½ quarters, the best highlights were two blocked punts and
an incredible fourth-quarter catch by Carolina's Steve Smith at the
back of the end zone. Ladell Betts, the Redskins featured running
back now that Clinton Portis is out for the year, finished with 104
yards on 24 carries. Campbell threw an interception on the previous
drive and had only 52 yards passing when he hit Cooley for the
made-up touchdown. He finished 11-for-23 for 118 yards with two
"I've never seen him uncomfortable," Gibbs said. "It's an
amazing thing about him. He's got that laid-back personality, and
from the day he got here. He's never looked like he was feeling
pressure or anything."
The Redskins defense, ranked last in the NFC entering the game,
also had its first good game. The Panthers were held to 264 total
yards, and the much maligned secondary limited Smith to 34 yards on
five catches. Safety Sean Taylor made a tackle on fourth down to
stop Carolina's next-to-last drive, and he intercepted Jake
Delhomme in the end zone on the Panthers' last possession.
"It's just a steppingstone," Taylor said.
Smith gave the Panthers a 13-10 lead with 7:55 to play when he
reached high for the ball at the back of the end zone and managed
to have both feet hit the ground inches from the white line for an
The Panthers defense would usually take over from there.
Carolina entered having allowed 10 points in two games since its
week off, and the Redskins' only touchdown through three quarters
Sunday was set up by a blocked punt by rookie Rocky McIntosh.
"This one stinks -- especially when I didn't make that tackle,"
Minter said. "He beat his guy -- 100 percent of the time you have
to make that tackle."
No one will mistake either team for an offensive juggernaut
anytime soon, and the reputations were kept safe in a first half
that included nine punts, no touchdowns and only 91 combined yards
passing. The punting duel left the Redskins with good field
position for much of the half, but they had to settle for two field
goal attempts by Nick Novak. He missed from 37 yards, then
converted from 42.
Carolina rookie RB DeAngelo Williams started for DeShaun
Foster (elbow) and ran for 63 yards on 17 carries. ... Delhomme
(23-for-38 for 168 yards) passed Steve Beuerlein as the Panthers'
career leader in completions and yards. He has 1,055 completions
for 12,854 yards. ... Redskins S Vernon Fox, starting for Troy
Vincent (hamstring), got his first interception since 2002. ...
Novak is 5-for-10 in field goal attempts. ... The Panthers are 1-7
against the Redskins, 0-5 in Washington.