The Redskins' ground game was dominant from the start of Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams and it showed in the final statistics: Clinton Portis and Rock Cartwright both rushed for more than 100 yards against the Rams' leaky defense.
Portis finished the game with 136 yards on 27 carries, with two touchdowns, including a 47-yarder in the first quarter that helped set the tone of dominance by the Redskins' offensive line.
Meantime, Cartwright rushed for 118 yards on nine carries, with runs of 52 yards and 28 yards in the first half.
In the first quarter, Portis got the Redskins' offense going with several slashing runs. On the offense's second possession, the Redskins took over at St. Louis's 48-yard line.
Portis did the rest.
After Portis ran up the middle for a 1-yard gain, he took another handoff from Mark Brunell and broke right.
Portis sped through a hole opened up by Jon Jansen, then cut back behind another block by Randy Thomas. Portis out-raced the Rams' secondary to the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown that quieted the Edward Jones Dome crowd.
It was Portis's longest touchdown run since his first carry as a Redskin: the 64-yard TD run against Tampa Bay in the Week 1 season opener.
It was exactly the kind of statement that Portis talked about heading into Sunday's game.
The Redskins' offense also improved on third downs, converting 8-of-14 in the game.
"Offensively, we just have to stay on the field and keep our defense rested," Portis said. "We know that the St. Louis offense has put up outstanding numbers. We have to keep them off the field. The only way to stop their offense is for us to sustain drives and convert third downs."
Portis added a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that at the time gave the Redskins a 17-7 lead.
Surprisingly, Portis said that he prefers to run on natural grass instead of the fast track at the Edward Jones Dome.
"It's a much improved surface [in the Edward Jones Dome], but I like the outdoors," Portis said.
Cartwright surprised everyone with the first 100-yard rushing performance of his NFL career. He took advantage of some impressive blocking and seemingly found huge holes every time he touched the ball.
Midway through the second quarter, Cartwright burst around left end for a 52-yard gain. The run led to a 38-yard field goal by John Hall.
Late in the same quarter, Cartwright burst through for a 28-yard gain that gave the offense hope for a late score. Unfortunately, the offense did not have enough time to get into scoring range.