Redskins Clip Cardinals' Wings

Craig Garrison SrSenior Analyst ISeptember 21, 2008

While Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner was harassed all day long by the Washington Redskins, Jason Campbell took advantage of the improved play from his offensive line and used his feet to make plays as the Washington Redskins defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 24-17.

Warner was held under 200 yards passing and the Cardinals' offense was held under 20 points for the first time in their last 10 games, dating back to last season.

The Redskins' defense apparently chose to focus their attention on Warner and the Cardinals' passing game, playing a soft defensive front as the Cardinals were able to run the ball effectively. Cardinals running back Edgerrin James compiled 93 yards on only 18 carries, over five yards per carry.

Only one week removed from posting a perfect passer rating, Warner finished with two touchdowns and one interception, completing only 53 percent of his passes. The Redskins' defense was outstanding for most of the day, until standout Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald got beyond their deep safeties for a 62 yard touchdown pass in the third.

But the story of the day was Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell. Finishing the day with 22 completions of 30 attempts for 193 yards and two touchdowns. The stat that is perhaps most critical for Campbell must be the stat not listed: NO INTERCEPTIONS. In fact, Campbell hasn't thrown an interception or lost a fumble this season.

Last week Campbell connected with nine different receivers, and this week he hit seven different targets. Redskins head coach Jim Zorn (who is also the quarterbacks coach and primary play caller) seems to be a good match for Campbell. They took their lumps together in the season opening loss to the defending champion New York Giants and for the week that followed.

But they have rebounded impressively, with Zorn directing the offense to impressive performances two weeks in a row. Perhaps the most indicative statement of this is Zorn's obvious confidence in Campbell and his offensive teammates. This confidence was never more noticeable than on two fourth quarter play calls that effectively ended games in Weeks Two and Three.

Against the New Orleans Saints in Week Two, with just 1:58 left and facing a 4th-and-2 from the Saints' 34 yard line, Zorn called a pass, Campbell to Moss on a slant, victory formation, and game over.

In Week Three, Zorn would show this confidence once again. Following three straight Clinton Portis runs that wound the clock to the two minute warning, on second and seven from the Redskins 31 yard line, Zorn called another pass.

This time, Campbell rolled left and hit tight end Chris Cooley for a 26 yard gain and first down. Good enough for the victory formation once again, and another win for Zorn and his Redskins.

These two plays were not scoring plays, but they were confidence plays. Rather than attempting another running play and being satisfied with a punt, hoping the Redskins' defense could make the stops necessary for the win, Zorn wanted to end the game with his offense on field. In the process, he has thoroughly remade the Redskins' identity.

Their new identity? The Zorn Identity.