First Look At: Washington

Lost amid all the Donovan McNabb hoopla, the Redskins' maligned defense delivered during their matchup with Philadelphia.

The Washington Redskins came into Philadelphia ranked last in the NFL in defense after blowing a 17-point lead with 16 minutes in regulation and losing to Houston in overtime and then surrendering 30 points to winless St. Louis and rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. Washington left Lincoln Financial Field in first place in the NFC East with a 2-0 division record after upsetting the Eagles 17-12. It was the Redskins' second conquest in four weeks of a 2009 playoff team.

Washington wasted no time beginning its defensive resurgence. Outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, starting for just the second time in his four seasons, throttled Eagles running back LeSean McCoy for no yards.

"I was definitely trying to be a tone-setter on that play and the play on special teams to get us going," said Alexander, who also laid out Jorrick Calvin on an early kickoff and might have saved a touchdown soon thereafter with a subsequent shoestring tackle of McCoy. "The last two games we didn't finish. We did that today. To beat a division rival in their house is a great feeling."

Two weeks after feeling improperly used when the Texans kept throwing away from him, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall was feeling great after ending Philadelphia's last gasp by intercepting Kevin Kolb's Hail Mary after it sailed through the hands of Eagles receiver Jason Avant in the end zone.

"It felt good," Hall said. "I jumped up, saw the ball kinda tipped around," Hall said. "Luckily enough, it bounced right out (to me)."

Hall also finished off his former Atlanta teammate Michael Vick, sandwiching the NFLs' top pass/run threat with safety Kareem Moore with 26 seconds left in the first quarter. Vick, who came into the game third in the league in passing and first in yards per carry, suffered rib and chest injuries and didn't return.

"That's a huge play," said Redskins defensive captain London Fletcher. "Vick has been the key to their offense. He was red-hot. We didn't come ready to play last week. We were very flat. We probably overlooked the Rams a little bit. That wasn't going to happen today. We knew we were a lot more physical defense than we had been showing. We were just physical with (Eagles receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin). We didn't want them running all over the field like they had been doing."

And now the Redskins feel better about what they're doing on defense heading into next week's visit from imposing Green Bay.

"It feels good to be No. 1 in the division," Hall said. "It didn't feel like that big a hit (on Mike), but we must have got him in some sweet spots. I love him to death, but at the end of the day, it's football and we're trying to win a game."

Lineup watch: Lorenzo Alexander made his first start this season and second of his career in place of the demoted Andre Carter. Alexander stopped McCoy for no gain on the first play of the game and later leveled Calvin in kickoff coverage and tripped up McCoy with a shoestring tackle after a 31-yard gain to the Washington 38.

Key injury: Coach Mike Shanahan was happy with Clinton Portis' play, a week after the running back was benched because of a fear of being unable to secure the ball with an ailing right wrist. Portis carried 11 times for 55 yards against the Eagles, but exited with a groin injury that might keep him out for Sunday. Youngster Ryan Torain replaced Portis and wound up with 70 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

$100 million man: Albert Haynesworth's numbers against the Eagles were modest: four tackles, one for a loss and a pass defensed. However, the $100 million man looked something like his 2007-08 All Pro self for the first time this season. Haynesworth drew a couple of holding penalties and generally disrupted the middle of Philadelphia's offensive line during his roughly 30 snaps.

"The more he plays like that, the more he'll play," Shanahan said.

By the numbers: 53 — Yards rookie free agent return specialist Brandon Banks gained the first time he touched the ball in the NFL.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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