LANDOVER, Md. (Nov. 6, 2005) -- For a change, the Washington Redskins' opponents were the controversial team, and the drama surrounding Terrell Owens didn't help the Philadelphia Eagles a bit.
A cast of less famous names led by Mike Sellers, Chris Cooley, Ryan Clark, Ladell Betts, Derrick Dockery, and -- OK, this is a popular one -- LaVar Arrington, helped lead the Redskins to a 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, who have lost three of four and are in danger of slipping out of the playoff race.
After the game, Washington quarterback Mark Brunell couldn't resist drawing the contrast between the Redskins -- who are having their most harmonious season in years -- and the saga-plagued Eagles, who suspended All-Pro receiver Owens.
"As far as the T.O. thing, we weren't thinking about it, but I'll tell you what: We are about team and we're not about anything that comes before team," Brunell said. "If we had any players that were trying to get all the attention and trying to be the focus, we wouldn't stand for it. ... Tonight was a perfect example. We didn't have any huge stats. We won that game as a team."
The day was filled with off-field Eagles news: Owens, suspended indefinitely for comments he made about the organization and Donovan McNabb, was involved in a locker-room fight with former teammate Hugh Douglas last week; and running back Brian Westbrook, pining for a new contract since training camp, was given a five-year extension.
Then the Eagles (4-4) took the field and fell to sole possession of last place in the NFC East, behind the New York Giants (6-2), Dallas (5-3) and Washington (5-3). Then again, Philadelphia lost by 28 at Denver last week with Owens on the field.
"Obviously it is tough losing a guy of his caliber, of his ability, but I think we might be better off," McNabb said. "I think what we did tonight, we showed that we played well together. I think we also showed, given the opportunity, that guys can make plays for us."
In truth, the Eagles didn't seem to miss Owens -- unless he could have transformed into a running back. McNabb completed passes to seven receivers, and Owens' replacement in the starting lineup, rookie Reggie Brown, caught a 56-yard pass for his first career touchdown. He finished with five receptions for 94 yards.
But Westbrook gained only 24 yards in a season-high 17 carries, more evidence why Philadelphia entered the game with an unseemly imbalance of passing the ball a league-high 72 percent of the time.
But Owens was Topic A in the locker room.
"He's the best wide receiver in the league," defensive end N.D. Kalu said. "Of course, he is going to help, but if he's not fitting in with our system and our rules, then it is just not going to work."
Brunell completed 21 of 29 passes for 224 yards. Cooley caught seven passes for a career-high 85 yards. Clinton Portis ran 21 times for 67 yards and a touchdown. Sellers had a 1-yard TD run, only the second carry of his six-year career. While those numbers aren't spectacular, they sure were a change of pace after last week's 36-0 blowout against the New York Giants.
"It seemed like it was a guy here, guy there that made plays," said coach Joe Gibbs, who gave game balls to the whole team and added a special game ball for Dockery for falling on a fumble that kept the winning drive alive in the third quarter. "It wasn't any one person -- everyone contributed."
Clark made the final big play, intercepting McNabb's pass with 1:25 remaining. The Eagles had threatened overtime by moving the ball from their own 15-yard line before Clark snagged the ball on fourth-and-4 at Washington's 7.
Even Arrington was a more humble presence, having conceded last week that the coaches were right to bring him along slowly back from his knee injury. Arrington's benching earlier this season was a team distraction, but he completed his return from exile by starting the game and serving as a team captain. His six tackles tied for the team lead with Phillip Daniels, who played on a sore ankle.
And the whole team showed resilience -- a week after Gibbs' worst defeat in his coaching career.
"I'm really proud of our players to bounce back after what happened last week," Gibbs said.
McNabb played with several injuries, including a sports hernia and bruised rib. He was still agile, but he often found it hard to locate receivers against a defense that didn't have to worry about the run. He finished 22-for-35 for 304 yards.
Brown's touchdown gave the Eagles an early lead, but the Redskins answered with a field goal and a touchdown in the second quarter. Cooley's 18-yard reception and a 39-yard pass interference penalty on Lito Sheppard set up Sellers' 1-yard TD run, only the second time he's carried the ball in his six-year career.
The Eagles tied the game with a field goal in the third quarter, but Betts led the Redskins on the winning drive in the third quarter. He returned the kickoff to Philadelphia's 48, then caught a pass out of the backfield for a 26-yard gain, setting the stage for Portis' 6-yard TD run.
- Philadelphia tight end L.J. Smith left the game with a concussion in the third quarter.
- Eagles LB Jason Short broke a fibula, and Kalu re-injured his shoulder.