Rookie running back Roy Helu got his first career start Sunday and used it to unexpectedly set a franchise record for most catches in a game – 14, breaking the old mark set twice by Hall of Fame receiver Art Monk and once more by running back Kelvin Bryant.
“To be honest, I don’t care,” Helu said afterward. “That’s just to be honest. … All I care about are my brothers on this team. They’re hurting because I can’t make plays on the field.”
Helu caught 14 passes for 105 yards, but he was haunted by one important play – a fumble after he took a second-quarter pass from Beck, one forced by 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis. A play later, San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith found fullback Bruce Miller for a 30-yard touchdown that put the Redskins in a 13-0 hole.
“There were other plays, like the fumble I had, that take away from” his production, Helu said. “They scored seven on that, and that was the difference in the game.”
Coach Mike Shanahan said Helu earned the start because he “has got the speed to make big plays.” Helu added 10 carries for 41 yards.
“I think you can see that he is a pretty good all-around back,” Shanahan said. “He makes some plays, obviously, like a Pro Bowl back.”
Monk’s 13-catch days came on Dec. 15, 1985 against Cincinnati, when he gained 230 yards; and Nov. 4, 1990, when he gained 168. Bryant caught 13 passes for 130 yards against the New York Giants on Dec. 7, 1986.