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In Red Zone, Defense Slams the Door

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LaRon Landry saved his best play for last.

With the Philadelphia Eagles driving for a potential game-tying touchdown, Landry broke up a fourth-down pass to wide receiver Kevin Curtis to essentially end Monday night's game. The Redskins had held on to win 20-12.

Curtis grabbed quarterback Donovan McNabb's pass at the Redskins' 4-yard line, but Landry swatted the ball out of his hands and leveled a punishing tackle in the process.

"They kept on driving and getting first downs," Landry said. "We had to make a great play."

Landry's criticial stop was typical of the Redskins' defense strong play all evening, especially in the red zone.

Most impressively, the unit did not allow Philadelphia into the end zone all game. The Eagles had to settle for four field goals by kicker David Akers.

"We mixed up what we were doing [in the red zone]," London Fletcher said. "We came with some pressure a few times. Sometimes we played man-to-man, and sometimes we played a kind of zone.

"We took away their primary options. A couple of times, they threw the check-downs and we were able to come up and gang tackle."

Throughout the game, McNabb missed some wide open targets, an indication that he may not be fully healthy after suffering a severe knee ligament injury last year.

That shouldn't take away from the defensive performance, though.

On third downs, the Redskins stopped the Eagles on 12-of-16 attempts. McNabb was sacked twice on third downs--once by Marcus Washington and once by Rocky McIntosh.

Cornelius Griffin and Landry combined on the third sack midway through the fourth quarter.

McIntosh was active again, leading the defense with nine tackles (eight solo) to go along with his sack. Landry had five tackles (four solo) as well as two special teams tackles.

"We went out there and executed well," Landry said. "We played sound defense. In the first half, we were a little shaky [against Brian Westbrook and the Eagles' ground game], but then we came out in the second half and finished it up."

Overall, the defense allowed 340 total yards. Most of the 240 passing yards from McNabb came late in the fourth quarter as the Eagles mounted a comeback effort.

On Tuesday, head coach Joe Gibbs praised the defense for forcing a 3-and-out at the start of the second half, something that "is a big deal for us" because it helps sets a tone.

Gibbs pointed out that the defense did not commit a penalty in the game.

Gibbs also praised the play of safeties Landry and Taylor: "They did not give up any deep shots. Sean Taylor had a very big game and he played extremely well in the middle of the field. And Landry's done a great job for us so far. He doesn't play like a rookie."

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