SAN DIEGO — Washington quarterback Jay Schroeder's words of encouragement helped wide receiver Gary Clark overcome his worst moment and make a game-winning touchdown catch in the waning seconds.
Clark caught a 14-yard pass from Schroeder with 1:16 remaining to give the Redskins a 30-27 victory Sunday over the San Diego Chargers.
Less than three minutes earlier, with Washington driving toward the go-ahead score, Clark had fumbled after catching a Schroeder pass. San Diego recovered at its 23-yard line.
"If we hadn't come back, I would have been the goat," Clark said. "I really botched it. When we were on the sidelines, Jay came up to me. He said, 'You can come back. You can win this for us.' "
Clark made the winning catch one play after he beat San Diego defensive back Wayne Davis for a 55-yard gain. The Redskins covered 69 yards in 44 seconds, with all the yardage coming on Clark's receptions.
"I feel sorry for San Diego," Washington Coach Joe Gibbs said. "I'd hate to lose one like that. Today was just the day for us."
Clark and fellow wide receiver Art Monk repeatedly beat San Diego defenders, catching a combined total of 13 passes for 318 yards.
"The whole defense had a shaky day," San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Lynn said. "We took a giant step backwards today."
Washington (3-0) sealed the victory when San Diego quarterback Dan Fouts was intercepted a third time. Redskins defensive back Curtis Jordan picked off a fourth-down pass deep in Charger territory with 46 seconds remaining and returned it to the San Diego 11.
Clark finished the afternoon with six catches for 144 yards. Monk also had a fine day, with seven receptions for 174 yards, including the key gains on the Redskins' five other scoring drives.
Schroeder completed 16 of 36 for 341 yards, with the pass to Clark his only touchdown throw of the contest.
The loss ended a seven-game home winning streak for the Chargers, who dropped to 1-2 on the season.
Rolf Benirschke accounted for all of San Diego's second-half scoring with two field goals and the Chargers blocked a field goal and recovered a fumble to blunt fourth-quarter drives by the Redskins.
With 3:55 remaining, San Diego defensive back Gill Byrd jarred the ball loose from Clark after a completed pass and linebacker Fred Robinson recovered at the Charger 23.
San Diego's offense ran down the clock before finally having to punt and the Redskins took over at their own 31-yard line with two minutes remaining.
Earlier in the fourth period, the Redskins had a 47-yard field goal attempt by Mark Moseley blocked by San Diego rookie lineman Jeff Walker.
Washington's George Rogers rushed for a pair of touchdowns, on a two-yard run in the second quarter, and a 10-yard run with 13 seconds remaining in the third.
On the Redskins' first five scoring drives, Monk provided the long gainers with a 21-yard run on a reverse, and pass receptions of 38, 41, 17 and 58 yards to help set up three field goals and a pair of touchdowns.
Rogers' second TD pulled the Redskins to within 24-23, but Benirschke's 31-yard field goal with 9:07 remaining in the contest gave the Chargers a three-point pad.
Washington began the third quarter with consecutive drives ending in 24-yard and 26-yard field goals by Moseley as the Redskins closed to within 21-16.
Benirschke kicked a 50-yard field goal to give San Diego a 24-16 lead with 2:03 left in the third period.
The Chargers built a 21-10 halftime lead on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Fouts to Gary Anderson and a pair of 1-yard scoring runs by Buford McGee, a reserve starting in place of injured fullback Tim Spencer.
After Washington grabbed an early 3-0 lead on Moseley's 29-yard field goal, Fouts drove the Chargers 80 yards in six plays, capped by the scoring pass to Anderson.
The Chargers' running back caught Fouts' first-quarter swing pass two yards behind the line of scrimmage and evaded two tacklers before diving past a third Redskin defender at the goal line.
McGee's first touchdown came one play after tight end Kellen Winslow made a spectacular one-handed grab of a nine-yard pass that put the ball at the Washington one.