Then Clinton Portis really started piling up the yards. Santana Moss starting doing spin moves after catching the ball. London Fletcher led a huge goal-line stand. The Browns, not to be outdone, made things interesting with a late touchdown, a 2-point conversion, and a field-goal attempt that was wide right with 25 seconds to play.
After nearly putting the fans to sleep, two teams packed a lot into a little bit of time Sunday. Portis broke the scoreless tie with a 3-yard run in the third quarter and rushed for 175 yards on 27 carries, and Moss spun his way to an 18-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter as the Redskins beat the Browns 14-11.
The Browns couldn't replicate that magic against the Redskins. Their point production dropped from 35 to 11. Their yards total plummeted from 454 to 236. Derek Anderson went from 310 yards passing to 136 and was hurt by several drops by his receivers. Kellen Winslow, playing after missing last week’s game with an unidentified illness, didn’t catch a pass until late in the fourth quarter.
Portis, meanwhile, kept grinding away in his fourth consecutive 100-yard game. He has 818 yards rushing only seven games into the season.
"I think Clinton Portis is an absolute workhorse, and our offensive line takes pride in that," head coach Jim Zorn said.
"All the personal stats and personal ideas [about putting up big numbers], wanting to do this and wanting to do that is out for me. I want to win," Portis said. "It does not matter if I have 175 yards or if I have 75 yards, if we come out with a win, I come out with a smile on my face."
Moss, kept quiet the previous two games, caught four passes for 75 yards. Jason Campbell went a modest 14-for-23 for 164 yards, but he still hasn't thrown an interception all season.
The game's first 14 possessions ended in 13 punts and a missed field goal. The drought was broken at the exact midpoint of the third quarter when Portis reached the ball across the goal line. The score was set up by the game’s first big pass play: a 35-yard completion to Moss, who made two spin moves after the catch to add valuable yards downfield.
The Browns answered with a 58-yard drive -- including a 22-yard run by Jamal Lewis in which he hurdled cornerback Fred Smoot --to get on the board with a 37-yard field goal from Dawson. It was the first Cleveland drive not to end in a punt.
The Redskins went ahead 14-3 on Moss’ touchdown with 12:28 remaining, coming after a 27-yard run from Portis.
The Browns responded with a 6 1/2-minute drive but came away with no points despite a first-and-goal at the 1. Fletcher made the tackles on first and second downs, and Demetric Evans batted away a pass on fourth down.
"I'd love to be down there hovering because to play that kind of defense and the way we play it you have to be emotional, you have to be violent and you have to create things (for yourself)," Zorn said. "We created the line of scrimmage and that starts with our defensive line and starts everybody moving forward. They’re mean and they’re very physical, so I’m glad they are on our side."
However, Portis was stripped by Eric Wright at the end of a 24-yard run on the next play after the defensive stand. Brodney Pool recovered, and the Browns scored five plays later on a fourth-and-goal pass to Cribbs.
Notes: The attendance was 90,487, the fifth-highest ever at FedExField. ... The Redskins current streak of 332 pass attempts without an interception, dating back to last season, is an NFL record. The previous mark of 281 was set by the Oakland Raiders in 2001. ... Running back Shaun Alexander made his Redskins debut with an eight-yard run in the third quarter. ... Redskins tight end Chris Cooley has now caught a pass in 63 consecutive games.