A few of the Washington Redskins were walking off the field, high-fiving, hugging and celebrating another road victory when they looked up at disgruntled fans and gave them another reason to pout.
``There's a new Beast of the East,'' players shouted.
That's no exaggeration.
Clinton Portis ran for 145 yards and one touchdown, wide receiver Antwaan Randle El threw a TD pass and the Redskins beat the Philadelphia Eagles 23-17 on Sunday.
Washington (4-1) has made it through the first five games under new coach Jim Zorn better than anyone expected. The Redskins went to Dallas last week and handed the Cowboys their first loss, 26-24. They've played all three division rivals on the road and their next three opponents - Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis - are a combined 1-11.
And Washington's offense didn't commit a turnover for the fifth straight game.
``I think the NFL was trying to throw us to the fire, to get rid of the 'Skins out of this division,'' Portis said. ``I think that we play our best football with our backs up against the wall.''
The Eagles (2-3) are close to having to look ahead to next season. They were the only NFC East team to miss the playoffs in 2007, finishing last for the second time in three years. With Donovan McNabb healthy coming into this season, they were hoping to make a run at the Super Bowl. Instead, they're buried in last place again.
``I was embarrassed the last two weeks,'' McNabb said. ``Two teams that we should not have lost to.''
DeSean Jackson had a 68-yard punt return for a score, but the Eagles couldn't generate much on offense. Brian Westbrook, back after missing a game with an ankle injury, had just 84 total yards.
Meanwhile, Portis piled up the yards against the league's best run defense. The Eagles had allowed just 53.8 per game on the ground.
``Clinton Portis would say this. He doesn't do all that running by himself,'' Zorn said. ``Our offensive line, they were coming off the ball, they were really doing a nice job communicating. It wasn't as though they were playing a real soft defense, either.''
Shaun Suisham kicked three field goals beyond 40 yards, helping the Redskins overcome a 14-0 deficit. Jason Campbell threw for 176 yards.
About the only reason for fans to cheer came at the end of the game, when the Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers to advance to the National League championship series.
``It's going to be tough for us, but we're going to continue to fight,'' Westbrook said. ``We're not going to quit.''
Portis ran in from the 4 to give the Redskins a 23-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Washington started the drive at the Eagles 43 after a 28-yard punt return by Randle El and a personal foul penalty on Tank Daniels at the end of the play.
The Eagles went nearly 30 minutes without getting a first down and had four straight three-and-outs until finally putting together a long drive. However, they couldn't punch it in after reaching the 2. Westbrook was stopped for no gain and then lost 3 yards, forcing the Eagles to settle for a 23-yard field goal by David Akers that cut it to 23-17.
Philadelphia had problems at the goal line in a 24-20 loss at Chicago last week. The Bears stopped the Eagles on three straight runs from the 1 late in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory.
Washington took its first lead at 16-14 on Randle El's 18-yard TD pass to Chris Cooley early in the third quarter.
Randle El caught a 16-yard pass on third-and-9 to keep the drive going. Portis followed with a 21-yard run to the Eagles 37. Two plays later, Randle El took an end-around handoff, stopped just shy of the line of scrimmage and tossed a perfect pass to a wide-open Cooley for the score.
It was the first TD allowed by the Eagles at home in four games, dating to last season. A former quarterback at Indiana, Randle El has four career TD passes, including two with the Redskins.
``They had a good game plan and they executed it very well,'' Eagles linebacker Stewart Bradley said.
Down 14-0, the Redskins chipped away behind Suisham's accurate leg. His 41-yarder put Washington on the board, and he nailed a 48-yarder to make it 14-6 after a 15-play drive that lasted 8:19. Then he was perfect from 50 yards to get the Redskins within 14-9 at the end of the first half.
Westbrook scored on a 9-yard run to cap the first possession.
Notes: Akers missed a 50-yard field goal wide right on Philadelphia's second possession. He's 3-for-14 beyond 40 yards the past two seasons, including 1-for-4 this year. ... The Redskins were 11-for-19 on third downs. ... Cooley had eight receptions for 109 yards.
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