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Cooley, Offense Come Up Big On Third Downs


"Third down was an issue," Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher told reporters on Sunday.

That's just what the Redskins' offense was hoping for at LP Field.

After struggling on third downs the last three games, the offense made dramatic strides in the Redskins' 19-16 win over the Titans on Sunday at LP Field.

The Redskins were 8-of-16 third downs in the game, a 50 percent conversion rate.

"Sooner or later we had to have a good game," head coach Mike Shanahan said. "You can't have bad games all year. So we were due to have some good third downs. It really said a lot about our guys. We knew we had to improve in that area, there was a lot of focus like there normally is but you still have got to go out and do it. I'm very proud of the way they responded."

The Redskins were 4-for-37 on third downs in their last three games, including 0-for-10 in the 59-28 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.

The offense failed on its first two third downs in the first quarter.

The streak ended late in the first quarter when Donovan McNabb connected on a 4-yard pass to Anthony Armstrong on a 3rd-and-3 play.

One play later, the Redskins scored their only touchdown of the game on a 5-yard touchdown pass from McNabb to Santana Moss.

Tight end Chris Cooley had been held without a catch in the first three quarters, but on the first three plays of the fourth quarter he caught a 15-yard pass to convert a 3rd-and-5.

Cooley converted two more third downs in the fourth quarter to help the Redskins tie the game at 16-16.

He finished with a team-high seven receptions for 91 yards in the game.

Said Shanahan: "You really never know what is going to happen in a game – a guy could get shut out for a half or three quarters and he has got to stay in the game, and Chris (Cooley) is that type of guy.

"He is a tough-minded guy, he doesn't get down and he knows his time will come. When it does come, you have got to make some plays, which he did."

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