The Redskins have posted their best start since 2008, and could be unbeaten were it not for an 18-16 loss to the Cowboys a week ago, a game they easily could have won.
“At this point, I’d rather be 4-0. But it’s a long season and we’ve got to get over those things, and the key is to get better every week,” Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said. “. . . Each week we’ll be ready, try to get better every day, but we won’t get too carried away” with the 3-1 start.
The Redskins might not have had the opportunity to talk about 3-1 had it not been for Torain’s big day. Unused in the first three weeks of the season and replaced in the preseason as Washington’s workhorse after he broke his hand early in training camp, Torain made himself relevant again with starting running back Tim Hightower struggling in the first half.
Including a 20-yard touchdown late in the second quarter, Torain amassed 135 yards on 19 carries to lead a Redskins rushing attack that outgained the Rams, 196-45. Washington topped St. Louis in total yardage, 339-172.
“I could tell this week in practice that Tim wasn’t quite himself,” Shanahan said. “I don’t know if he was banged up, or what. And I thought [Roy] Helu looked very good. But Torain looked like he was on a different level. Maybe he was a little more fresh than the other guys, but you could see it yourself.”
Said Torain: “It was a very emotional game for me. Just wanted to get out there and play. Every single game, they’re always telling me to be ready, stay focused, keep working hard. I finally got that opportunity to get out there and make some plays.”
Despite their statistical edge, the Redskins needed a late-game stand by their defense to pull off the victory. Although the defense had rocked the Rams all game long, the Redskins gave their opponents life with two fourth-quarter interceptions.
Washington quarterback Rex Grossman threw a first-quarter touchdown pass, and Torain scored in the second. But the Redskins, who led 14-0 at halftime, managed only a field goal in the third quarter. They threatened the Rams early in the fourth, however, but Grossman threw his first interception — a third-and-11 pass from the St. Louis 26-yard line that went through the hands and off the chest of wide receiver Santana Moss and into the hands of Rams defensive back Justin King, who took the ball back 51 yards.
St. Louis eventually scored on a 32-yard field goal — its first points — and followed that up on the next possession with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Sam Bradford to running back Steven Jackson that cut the lead to 17-10 with 5 minutes 45 seconds left.