Even as the Philadelphia Eagles were driving downfield for a potential game-tying touchdown on Sunday night, safety Ryan Clark had visions of coming up with an interception to save a win for the Redskins.
Then it happened.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb, pressured to get rid of the ball from a blitzing Marcus Washington, threw an interception right to Clark. FedExField erupted with excitement as the Redskins' 17-10 win over the Eagles was preserved with less than two minutes to play.
"We're not the type of team that's going to sit back and let you decide who you want to throw it to," Clark said after the game. "We're going to decide for you. That's what we did. We stayed aggressive."
Clark joked that the interception may have been too easy. But no matter. The way the Redskins are playing defense, selflessness is a virtue.
"Nobody wanted to let the other guy down," he said. "I didn't want to let Shawn Springs down, Shawn didn't want to let Sean Taylor down, and so on. That's what this team is all about. When I made that play, we all made that play. Any one of us could have caught that interception. I didn't catch that ball behind my back with my eyes closed. I caught it in between the numbers, just like my son does when I throw it to him."
Clark has emerged as a dependable starter in the Redskins' secondary. The fourth-year player spent two seasons with the New York Giants, but was released after the 2003 season.
So he went off to work in the academic administration offices at LSU, his alma mater, wearing a suit and tie to the office every day.
Then the Redskins called to give him another shot at his NFL dream. He earned a roster spot in preseason that year and when Matt Bowen was sidelined by injury midway through the 2004 season, Clark stepped in and solidified the position.
He recorded a career-high 91 tackles (65 solo) last season, but did not have any career interceptions heading into 2005.
That changed two weeks ago when Clark logged his first career interception against his former team, the Giants. Now he has two interceptions in the Redskins' last two games.
"Ryan is one of those high character guys that Coach Gibbs always talks about," Springs said. "He just does his job, works real hard and good things happen. I told him I'm jealous because he got the interception right in front of me. I read the play so good, I thought McNabb was going to throw it to me. I was dreaming about skirting 90 yards."
Clark, who has 31 tackles and two interceptions on the season, credited the Redskins' defensive line for stopping the run and applying pressure on McNabb.
"There was a big focus on tackling," he said. "I told Marcus that [the defensive backs] felt real comfortable with the front seven out there. The guys played a great game. They stepped up and made a lot of big plays. We didn't have to make a lot of tackles and that's always a good sign when the free safety and strong safety don't have to make a lot of tackles. That means the front seven is containing everything at the line of scrimmage."