The Redskins got the morale boost they needed Sunday with a 16-13 overtime victory over the Miami Dolphins, though they know they won't get much credit for barely beating a rookie-heavy, rebuilding team with a new coach and a new quarterback.
"It don't shut them up -- we need the doomsayers," said Portis, who shook off the rust of a months-long battle with tendinitis to run for 98 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. "We don't need nobody to jump on our bandwagon."
Shaun Suisham kicked three field goals, including a 39-yarder 5:36 into the extra period, and Randle El had a big hand in all of Washington's points in regulation as the Redskins took the first step in their attempt to rebound from last year's 5-11, the worst season in Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs' career.
"It was critical for us to go out there and get a win today," Gibbs said. "First game of the season, opening up at home. We're in the business of winning ballgames. It doesn't matter how we get it done."
The victory came with a heavy price. Right tackle Jon Jansen broke his right ankle early in the second quarter and could be out for the year.
"It takes away a little bit from the win," right guard Randy Thomas said. "I'm down about that. That's a blow, man. That's a rock."
The loss spoiled Cam Cameron's first game as an NFL head coach, as well as quarterback Trent Green's debut with the Dolphins. Miami's day included a drive with back-to-back false starts, several drops by receivers, untimely penalties, strange time management on a scoring drive at the end of the first half, and a punt by rookie Brandon Fields that barely got off the ground yet somehow managed to bounce 30 yards downfield.
Both Miami and Washington were last-place teams in 2006, and it showed. Most baffling stat: five unused second-half timeouts at the end of regulation.
"We were able to have some drives, and then we hurt ourselves," said Green, who went 24-for-38 for 219 yards and one touchdown. "It wasn't good enough to get it done. That's the disappointing thing because I think we had some opportunities as an offense to do more. An errant throw, the penalties, the drops -- those are all things we did to ourselves."
Randle El, opening the year as the No. 2 receiver ahead of Brandon Lloyd, was the game's most dynamic player. His 35-yard catch set up a second-quarter field goal, and his 49-yard snag set up a 19-yard run by Portis for a 10-7 lead in the third quarter. His 15-yard punt return helped lead to Suisham's 44-yard field goal that put Washington ahead 13-10 with 5:30 remaining.
Randle El nearly won the game on a miracle play at the end of regulation, when he caught a deflected despertion pass at the 3, but was unable to reach the end zone.
He caught five passes, but his play on an incompletion was just as big. The 5-foot-10 receiver leaped high to barely tip an overthrow by Campbell with the score tied and less than two minutes left in regulation. If the ball wasn't deflected, cornerback Michael Lehan was there to make the interception with a clear path to score what probably would have been the winning touchdown.
"He did a great job of trying to make a play," Campbell said. "You don't expect him to give up on any route."
The Redskins won the toss to start overtime, took the kickoff and drove 58 yards in 10 plays, all but two runs by Portis and Ladell Betts. Portis ran 9 yards to Miami's 22 to set up Suisham's kick, which came on first down.
The Dolphins appeared to be driving for the winning touchdown in regulation before a holding penalty and an intentional grounding call forced the team to settle for Jay Feely's 36-yard field goal that tied the game with 1:55 remaining.
Campbell, who became the starter with seven games remaining last year, finished 12-for-21 for 222 yards and two interceptions.
Other injuries: Washington S Vernon Fox (sprained groin), and Miami S Yeremiah Bell (calf), RB Jesse Chatman (knee) and DE Jason Taylor (quad). Taylor and Chatman returned to the game. ... Fred Smoot was the surprise starter ahead of Shawn Springs at cornerback for the Redskins.