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Brunell Shows Passing Touch

September 25, 2006|From the Associated Press

HOUSTON — Mark Brunell spent all week trying to ignore the criticism. Then he spent all of Sunday quieting it.

One connection after another, Brunell kept finding holes in the Houston Texans' shaky defense, breaking an NFL record for consecutive completed passes en route to Washington's first win. Brunell completed his first 22 throws, Clinton Portis scored two touchdowns in his first start this season and the Redskins beat the Texans, 31-15.

Washington had scored only one touchdown in its 0-2 start. Against the hapless Houston (0-3) defense -- which began the game ranked last in the league -- the Redskins got things turned around.

"It was a tough week -- a lot of things being said," Brunell said. "So you do your best to block those things out and go forward, keep playing hard, keep working hard."

Brunell, 36, set the record when he connected with Santana Moss on a six-yard pass late in the third quarter. The previous record was held by Oakland's Rich Gannon, who completed 21 in a row against Denver on Nov. 11, 2002.

Coach Joe Gibbs said they were not aware of the record until Brunell reached 21 completions.

"I said 'Hey, tell him,' " Gibbs said. "I'd hate to have him do something like trying to lob one downfield." He said assistant coach Al Saunders "did a good job getting a safe call there."

Brunell's first incompletion came two plays later, when Houston's Travis Johnson batted down a pass intended for Brandon Lloyd.

"It's a nice honor, but the credit should go to the 11 guys who were on the field," he said. "That's an offensive team record, really. The receivers were in the right spots, the offensive line did great. We ran the ball like we wanted to."

The Redskins finished with 495 yards to Houston's 261.

Brunell began the game with a completion rate of 57%, sparking calls for his benching. He finished 24 for 27 for 261 yards and a touchdown and completed passes to eight receivers.

Portis had 86 yards in 16 carries.

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