The Washington Redskins have their work cut out for them on Sunday.
The New Orleans Saints come marching in to FedEx Field fresh off of a 24-20 win over Tampa Bay. The Saints scored on a 42-yard pass from Drew Brees to Reggie Bush midway through the fourth quarter to take the lead and they held on when linebacker Scott Fujita spiked a late Bucs rally with an interception at the New Orleans 20 with about 40 seconds left.
Brees and Bush were the top offensive stars for the winning team and they are the players that the Redskins will have to slow down to win the game. Brees averaged well over 10 yards per pass attempt, going 23 for 32 for 343 yards and three touchdowns. Bush caught eight of those passes for 112 yards and he had 14 rushing attempts for another 51.
A little side note here: Many Redskins fans look at Brees with envious eyes, wishing that the Skins had a young veteran quarterback who could pass for over 300 yards in a win and have it be nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps, then, they might be well served to display a bit more patience with Jason Campbell. After three years and 27 starts for the Chargers he was mediocre and seemed to be regressing. The Chargers stuck with him, perhaps against their will—an extended holdout prevented Phillip Rivers from competing for the job—and they were rewarded with a breakout season in 2004, his fourth year in the NFL. Jason Campbell came into his fourth NFL season with 21 starts on his resume.
The New Orleans defense was good but not dominant. Tampa Bay racked up 352 yards, getting good production on the ground out of Earnest Graham (10 carries for 91 yards) and Warrick Dunn (9 for 54). Jeff Garcia was not very efficient, needing 41 attempts to get 221 yards. He was sacked twice.
You can't always tell much from one game, but on first look, it appears that the Redskins will have to post a score in the 20's in order to win on Sunday. For an offense that isn't quite there yet, that will be tough to do.