Something about the finality of the football season seems to get Clinton Portis going. Twice in the last three years, Portis has been the central figure of the Redskins' offense as they marched into the playoffs.
In 2005, he rushed for 100 yards in five straight games to lead the Redskins to five straight wins and a Wild Card playoff berth.
Two years later, Portis compiled 342 yards in the Redskins' last four games to lead the Redskins to four straight wins and a Wild Card playoff berth.
Portis was voted the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week for his performance in last Sunday's 27-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Portis was voted the award by fans on NFL.com. Along with the award, FedEx will donate $5,000 to a local Washington, D.C., children's hospital.
Portis rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries and caught four passes for 27 yards as the Redskins clinched a Wild Card berth with the win over Dallas.
Portis has also been increasingly effective in the Redskins' passing game the last four weeks, catching 15 passes for 161 yards.
He finished the season with 47 receptions for 389 yards, both career highs.
For the season, Portis ranked third in the NFC and eighth in the NFL with 1,262 yards on 300 carries. It's the fifth time that Portis has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in his six-year career.
"I think it is the team that is fighting together, and guys are making it easy for you and guys are out there giving it everything they have," Portis said. "The offensive line is blocking great, the receivers are blocking downfield, the receivers are making plays downfield.
"You have to take people out of the box. Teams have to respect Santana Moss and Reche Caldwell going down the sideline, and [Antwaan] Randle El. Todd [Collins] is throwing outstanding right now, so that is taking a lot of pressure off the running game. It is opening lanes up for me."
That was certainly the case in the Redskins' victory over the Cowboys. Midway through the first quarter, with the Redskins in scoring range, Portis took a handoff from Todd Collins and ran through blocks into open field.
He split two defenders, and then did a somersault into the end zone for a 23-yard TD run.
In Washington's opening drive of the second half, Portis added a 1-yard TD run to open up the Redskins' lead to 20-3.
Said Collins: "Clinton has been running great. I think what has helped him a little bit is I think he is enjoying catching some of those passes out of the backfield. He realizes that is almost an easier opportunity for him to make yards than slamming it up in there every time.
"I think he is in a rhythm right now. Like the other guys, he enjoys making plays and the more he makes the more excited he gets and I expect him to make some more."
Added Joe Gibbs: "I certainly think that anybody who has watched him play down the stretch knows that he gets after it. Clinton played his heart out."