Skins edge Saints as Santana Moss helps Campbell transform offense

LANDOVER, Md. -- In his attempt to redesign the Washington Redskins offense, rookie coach Jim Zorn has constantly peppered Jason Campbell with all sorts of phrases. One of them: "Avoid, reset and throw."

After a miserable first game, Campbell last week responded with a phrase of his own: "Coach, just trust me."

On Sunday, both got the point. Campbell went from uncomfortable to prolific with a 321-yard passing day, and he mastered the "avoid, reset and throw" move with aplomb on a 67-yard touchdown to Santana Moss as the Redskins came from behind to beat the New Orleans Saints 29-24.

"We talked a lot during the week," Campbell said. "I said 'Coach, just trust me.' And he said, 'I've got to trust you more.' We do it together."

Campbell appeared out of sorts with Zorn's West Coast attack in a 16-7 loss to the Giants, but he went 24-for-36 with no interceptions against the Saints. He completed his last eight passes as the Redskins (1-1) overcame a nine-point deficit with two touchdowns in the final 6 1/2 minutes.

"I don't really know how to act, but I am very excited," Zorn said of his first NFL win. "I wish I could enjoy it as much as I had to endure last week for four or five days, but I won't be able to."

The big play came with 3:29 left and the Redskins trailing 24-22. Campbell avoided the rush, stepped forward and hit Moss in stride, the receiver one step ahead of rookie cornerback Tracy Porter. Zorn had chided Campbell for failing to make a similar play against the Giants, costing the team a potential touchdown.

This time, Moss, the secondary target on the play, didn't slow down as he did against the Giants. Campbell spotted him and let the ball fly. Lesson learned all around.

"I'm patting myself on the back, but really it's all bogus," Zorn said. "He had to make the play. He made the call, he made the play, he made the move. That truly is it."

While Zorn was celebrating his first win, the Saints (1-1) failed to give coach Sean Payton a victory on the day the team extended his contract through the 2012 season.

Reggie Bush returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown that gave the Saints a 24-15 lead at the end of the third quarter. But New Orleans remained in the game principally because all five of the Redskins' first-half drives ended in field-goal attempts.

"I thought we were fortunate to be up by nine going into the fourth quarter," Payton said. "That teased us a little bit. But when it came time in the fourth quarter with some critical plays -- offensively trying to make a yard, trying to convert a third-and-5, or defensively trying to keep the ball in front of us -- they made those plays."

The Saints committed three turnovers, and all landed in the hands of seventh-round draft pick Chris Horton. Horton said he "just started sweating" with nerves when he woke up Sunday morning and learned he would be making his first start because Reed Doughty was sick. Horton recovered a fumble and caught two tipped interceptions, the last one ending the Saints' final drive with 2:59 to play.

Bush carried 10 times for 28 yards and caught seven passes for 63 yards, a mediocre day until he avoided three Redskins and flew down the left sideline for his punt return touchdown.

Robert Meachem, an oft-injured first-round pick a year ago, was active for the first time in his pro career because of Marques Colston's thumb injury. His first catch was a touchdown: 19 yards from Drew Brees in the third quarter, capping an 80-yard drive that gave the Saints a 17-9 lead.

Clinton Portis had 21 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns for the Redskins, who cemented the victory -- and tightened the Zorn-Campbell bond -- with a risky fourth-and-2 pass to Moss at the Saints 34 right after the 2-minute warning.

"A real gutsy call," guard Pete Kendall said. "I didn't know if we'd pooch punt or if we'd attempt a field goal. ... When I heard the play call come in, I thought, 'This could be really good, if it works out particularly, because it shows a lot of confidence in the quarterback."

Game notes
DE Jason Taylor had his first sack with the Redskins. ... New Orleans S Aaron Glenn left with an ankle injury. X-rays were negative. ... Saints RB Deuce McAllister had his first carries since Week 3 of last season; he missed the rest of 2007 with a knee injury. ... A hot and steamy day -- 90 degrees at kickoff, hottest in FedEx Field history -- prompted Zorn to have sideline personnel hold up canvas sheets to help cool the players. He didn't want to use a more structured version he invented for practices (known as the "Z-shade") because NFL rules would have required the Redskins to supply one for the Saints as well. Some Saints players, including TE Jeremy Shockey, used IVs to stay hydrated.