PHILADELPHIA (AP) — If Jason Campbell becomes a star in the NFL, he might pinpoint Monday night’s win as the start of something great.
Showing the poise of a veteran, the third-year quarterback in his ninth pro start converted several big plays and got plenty of help from Clinton Portis, Chris Cooley and an opportunistic defense in Washington’s 20-12 victory over the Eagles.
The surprising Redskins, coming off a 5-11 season, are 2-0 and tied with Dallas atop the NFC East, which Philadelphia was expected to dominate.
But the Eagles are 0-2 and their offense, other than the dynamic Brian Westbrook, has been far too spotty.
Portis and Cooley each scored touchdowns and Shaun Suisham made two field goals. Washington’s defense stymied every Eagle except Westbrook, who rushed for 96 yards and caught eight passes for another 66 yards.
Westbrook’s work wasn’t enough to get Philadelphia into the end zone, however, as an array of blitzes and some hard hitting by the Redskins’ secondary kept Donovan McNabb off-balance much of the night.
McNabb has lost six of his last seven starts and is 9-12 since the Eagles lost the Super Bowl to New England in January 2005.
Campbell didn’t have gaudy statistics, either, but he kept the Redskins on the move when it counted with sharp passes and timely third-down conversions.
After Suisham’s third field goal, a 37-yarder, put Washington on top 13-6, David Akers matched it with a 26-yarder later in the third quarter.
Then Washington’s mastery on third down — it went 8-for-15 — helped it to the winning score, a 6-yard run by Portis early in the fourth period. Campbell calmly found Cooley for 9 yards on third-and-8, and hit Todd Yoder, Cooley’s backup, for 18 on third-and-10.
Philly lost safety Brian Dawkins, its defensive leader, with a neck injury on the play that moved the ball to the Philadelphia 6. Then Portis swept left for the decisive points.