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Pecked apart
Redskins vs Falcons

 Fullback Mike Sellers best illustrated how the Redskins felt after letting the Falcons come from behind to win.
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Date published: 12/4/2006

By ADAM HIMMELSBACH

LANDOVER, Md.--The Redskins entered the game with more momentum and optimism than could be expected of a 4-7 team.

The Falcons entered the game in a month-long funk during which their play had been as unappealing as a bad piece of fish.

And for one quarter at FedEx Field yesterday afternoon, the Redskins looked like a team that had rejuvenated its season, while the Falcons looked like they were counting the days until vacation.

Washington used a dominant rushing attack to take a two-touchdown lead, and 86,436 fans may have had visions of last season, when the Redskins won their final five games and stormed into the NFC playoffs.

But by game's end, by the time the Falcons had charged back to grab a 24-14 victory, most of the stadium's seats were already empty. Many of those who remained voiced their frustrations as they walked toward the exits and into the cold evening.

"Somewhere in there, we quit making plays," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. "And then we made a couple of bad ones."

Making just his third career start, Redskins (4-8) quarterback Jason Campbell was unable to settle into a rhythm. Campbell, the 25th overall pick of the 2005 draft, completed 18 of 38 passes for 218 yards, with a touchdown and two costly interceptions. When Washington was forced to go with its hurry-up offense when trailing by 10 points late in the game, it was clear that Campbell is a young quarterback who is not accustomed to running a professional hurry-up offense.

"I said when he first got the job, people need to go easy on him," Redskins wide receiver Brandon Lloyd said. "If he starts out great, don't label him the next Joe Namath; and if he starts out bad, don't label him the next bust."

While Campbell struggled, Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was poised and efficient. The former Virginia Tech star completed 8 of 16 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns and carried the ball 10 times for 59 yards. He did not commit a turnover.

Vick was complemented by running backs Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood, who combined for 194 yards and a touchdown.

Though the Redskins were not officially eliminated from playoff contention with yesterday's loss, their already dwindling hopes were almost completely dashed. The Falcons (6-6), meanwhile, pushed themselves back within striking distance.


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