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LANDOVER, Md. -- Was that really Steve Spurrier coaching the Redskins?
With an attack bearing little resemblance to Spurrier's Fun 'n' Gun, Washington dominated Indianapolis with a patient offense that moved the sticks and controlled the clock in a 26-21 win Sunday night.
"It was a funny game," Spurrier said, "but it was crucial to win and get into the (playoff) hunt with nine games to play. We've got a chance."
Shane Matthews, unhappy that he was benched three weeks ago, justified his gripe by returning to lead a methodical, almost error-free game.
But the Colts, despite trailing 20-0 in the first half and playing poorly most of the night, put together a long drive and got a big punt return in the second half to make it close.
They had a chance to tie after rookie Ricky Williams' 20-yard touchdown catch with 6:46 left, but Fred Smoot broke up a pass intended for Qadry Ismail on a 2-point conversion attempt.
The Redskins essentially ran out the clock with the running of Kenny Watson, who played the second half after Stephen Davis left with a sprained right knee. James Tuthill hit his fourth field goal, a 22-yarder, with 18 seconds left.
Washington committed nine turnovers and allowed 13 sacks in the previous two games with rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey. This time, Matthews was 17-for-35 for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He was not intercepted and was sacked once even with two regulars on the offensive line not starting because of injuries.
Davis had 80 yards rushing on 16 carries in the first half. Watson had 67 on 15 carries. The Redskins ran the ball 37 times and passed 36, an un-Spurrier-like ratio.
The Redskins scored on their first four possessions, scored a touchdown in the first quarter for the first time this season and led at halftime, 23-7, for the first time this season.
With Washington up 10-0 in the second quarter, Matthews, under a heavy rush, threw a 33-yard score to Chris Doering.
In the second half, with the score 23-7, Manning had his sustained drive, going 8-for-8 on a 95-yard march that ended with a 2-yard score to Edgerrin James on the first play of the fourth quarter. James ran for a 2-point conversion to make the score 23-15.
Manning was intercepted on the next possession but Troy Walters later had a 34-yard punt return to set up Williams' score.