Pat White jump-starts comeback bid with fourth-quarter rally

Pat White

Pat White scrambles into the end zone on a late nine-yard touchdown run. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

NASHVILLE — It was only a preseason game. And it was the fourth quarter of a preseason game, at that, meaning it was accomplished against players who are highly unlikely to be in the NFL when the season opens next month.

But it still was a good night for Pat White, the fourth-string quarterback who is trying to return to the NFL—with the Washington Redskins or someone else — and helped his cause by leading a late comeback in a 22-21 triumph over the Tennessee Titans in the preseason opener.

“It means a lot,” White said. “It’s good to get on the field. It’s been a while for me. To put that drive together with my teammates and put points on the board and get a victory, it’s a great feeling.”

White, the former second-round draft pick by the Miami Dolphins who was signed by the Redskins in the offseason after being out of the league the past three seasons, provided a nine-yard touchdown run and threw a two-point conversion pass with just more than two minutes left. That put the Redskins ahead, and they held on to win.

“It’s a great feeling to get back out there and get the cobwebs off,” White said. “I’m blessed to have this opportunity and I’m just going to make the most of it.”

White took over after the nights of Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman were done, and with Robert Griffin III being withheld from the game entirely.

“I think it’s just a great start,” Cousins said. “I feel like Pat is a gamer, if you will, and he’s going to play very well in big moments. I think a crunch-time situation like that with two minutes left is a situation that Pat is built for. While he has been away from football, I mean, he also through OTAs and minicamp and now training camp has been getting back into it. So I think by now, coming back out in a game like tonight, he’s ready to do it and it’s old hat now. He’s kind of worn off the rust.”

White remains a long shot to make the Redskins’ season-opening roster. But after lasting only one season with the Dolphins in his first NFL go-around, even having a night like this in a preseason game once was a long shot.

“I don’t know how good of a player I was when I first came in the league,” White said late Thursday. “I wasn’t focused. My mind was in a million different places. But I’m blessed to have a second opportunity.”

Is it possible that he is a better player now than he was then?

“I think I’m a better person,” White said. “And it carries over to on the field.”

Said Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan: “I thought Pat did a great job just running our offense.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @D3Keith @Insider | @PostSports

More on the Redskins:

Ups and downs in the Redskins’ preseason triumph in Tennessee

Reid: A lot to learn yet for young defensive backs

Orakpo and Davis are bright spots in preseason opener

Photos from Nashville | Thursday night’s statistics

Garcon, Morris and six other starters sit out | Three rookie DBs start

D.C. Sports Bog: Fred Davis tasers himself, earns a penalty | More Bog

Also on The Insider

Three rookies start in Redskins' secondary