Remember when the quest for quarterback supremacy in the NFC East was a three-way battle between Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb, Dallas' Tony Romo and the New York Giants' Eli Manning?
Well, make room for Jason Campbell.
The third-year Washington quarterback, making only his third NFL start, outplayed McNabb and &
with the help of a stout defense &
held on for a 20-12 victory at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night .
While the Eagles dropped to 0-2 for the first time since 2003 and were serenaded by boos as they plodded off the field, the Redskins joined Dallas as the division's two undefeated teams.
"Everybody knew what we were up against," Washington coach Joe Gibbs said. "It's a tough place, probably one of the toughest places to play in the NFL."
Philadelphia has owned the Redskins in recent years, sweeping them four of the past five seasons and going 9-2 against them in their past 11 meetings.
Campbell's performance was more dependable than dazzling. He completed 16 of 29 passes for 209 yards with a touchdown and an interception. But he made the plays he had to, doing so on national TV .
"Jason is going to continue to become a great quarterback," said tight end Chris Cooley, who caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Campbell at the end of the first half. "He has everything he needs. He can make a lot of throws, and we're going to score more and more points."
That scoring throw, which capped a series of miscues that included three consecutive penalties by the Redskins and an ill-advised timeout by Philadelphia, was a huge momentum-builder for Washington heading into the locker room.
"Right before the half, it was great to see him hit that," Gibbs said. The coach added, however, that the Redskins could have done a better job of helping Campbell by hanging on to more of his catchable passes.
More than any other quarterback, McNabb has tormented the Redskins. He had been 7-1 against them with twice as many touchdown passes, 16, as interceptions.
But in this game, that 5 on his chest bore no resemblance to Superman's S. Despite his respectable numbers &
28 for 46 for 240 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions &
he looked rusty and frequently misfired, either overthrowing his receivers or screwing passes into the turf at their feet.
McNabb, who sat out the final eight games last season, including two in the playoffs, with an injured knee, has dropped off significantly since leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl in January 2005. He's 9-12 since that loss to New England and has lost six of his past seven starts.
Disappointed as they are about their start, the Eagles know those obstacles can be overcome. "We just have to have faith in each other regardless of what people say, what people hint around," Philadelphia linebacker Takeo Spikes said. "It's all about us."
Even though he struggled to get the offense moving, McNabb was on the verge of a dramatic comeback in the waning minutes. With the Eagles trailing, 20-9, early in the fourth quarter, he directed a drive to the Washington 4 that ended with a field goal, then another drive deep into Redskins territory.
With little more than a minute remaining and the Eagles facing an eight-point deficit, McNabb moved them in position to possibly tie the game. They had a third-and- 6 at the Washington 9 with — minute, 13 seconds to play. But McNabb rushed his pass, overthrowing a wide-open Kevin Curtis running an out along the goal line to set up a do-or-die play on fourth down. That pass was knocked harmlessly to the ground.
Asked about the difficulty of keeping the Eagles out of the end zone, Gibbs said: "Extremely hard to do. I don't think that's going to happen again."
That remains to be seen. For the moment Monday, the Redskins were satisfied to savor their unblemished record and their newly justified confidence in their up-and-coming offensive leader.
Redskins sideswipe Eagles on the road, run surprising start to 2-0