After two games, the trend is hard to miss. Those Washington Redskins quarterbacks are looking pretty sharp under new coach Jim Zorn.
Whether it's Jason Campbell with the starters or Todd Collins with the backups, Washington's quarterbacks are putting up the kinds of numbers they would love to replicate in the regular season. The pair combined to go 15-for-21 in the first half of Saturday night's 17-14 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
"It felt great for us as a team to move the ball that way," Campbell said. "We continued to keep fighting and we persevered through all of those penalties, and I think that it shows the character and focus of this team."
Collins was 8-for-11 for 77 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to running back Ladell Betts. Collins did have one major miscue--a pass picked off by Ashton Youboty that set up a Bills touchdown in the final two minutes of the first half.
Including the 30-16 win over Indianapolis in last weekend's Hall of Fame game, Campbell and Collins have combined to go 25-for-32 for 241 yards with two touchdowns and one interception--not bad considering the steep learning curve expected with the introduction of Zorn's version of the West Coast offense.
The Bills, playing their preseason opener, did not fare as well with starter Trent Edwards, who was 1-for-5 for 18 yards. Buffalo's offense opened the game at Washington's 30 after a fumbled kickoff, but Edwards' throw on third and 5 at the 8 sailed mysteriously into an area where no receiver was to be found because second-round draft pick James Hardy had lined up in the wrong spot. The Bills had to settle for a field goal.
"A little shaky," Edwards said. "We had a couple of missed formations, a couple of forced passes, a couple of inaccurate throws, but that's going to happen in a preseason game. That's why we're playing these games. We want to work those kinks out."
Backup J.P. Losman took over near the end of the first quarter and went 7-for-9 for 73 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Hardy and a 2-point conversion throw to Justin Jenkins that tied the score at 14 at halftime.
Neither coach will be happy with the untidy play that's become the norm early in the preseason. The Redskins actually had a clean performance last week -- no turnovers and only four penalties--but Saturday's game had its share of sloppy moments. The Bills scored 11 of their 14 points off turnovers, and a fumble by Dwayne Wright on Buffalo's opening drive of the third quarter led to the only score of the second half, a 46-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham.
The rest of the game belonged to players well down on the depth chart. Redskins rookie Colt Brennan was 4-for-8 for 37 yards, a drop-off from his 9-for-10, two-touchdown performance last week. The Bills' fourth-quarter drive for the possible go-ahead touchdown ended when sixth-round draft pick Xavier Omon fumbled at Washington's 16-yard line.
"The first exhibition--it's a tough one to play," Buffalo coach Dick Jauron said. "You don't want it to be sloppy. A lot of times, it is, and it was tonight. Too many penalties--and you can't win with those kind of penalties. You can't win with turnovers, and that was the game in a nutshell."
Both teams unveiled major additions. Defensive tackle Marcus Stroud and linebacker Kawika Mitchell, acquired to improve a Bills defense that ranked 31st in the NFL last year, had quiet debuts. "Dancing With the Stars" maven Jason Taylor, obtained in a trade with Miami on the first day of Redskins training camp, intimidated Buffalo linemen into a pair of false starts.
Notes: Washington CB Shawn Springs had to start at FS for the Redskins because various injuries--and Vernon Fox's absence due to personal reasons--left the team thin at defensive back.
Two Redskins receivers left the game with injuries. Antwaan Randle El hurt his right wrist in the first quarter, and Anthony Mix bruised his ribs on the opening kickoff of the second half. X-rays on both players were negative.
Cornerback Terrence McGee did not play for Buffalo because of an ankle injury.
Redskins QBs sharp again
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