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Best and Worst

Monday, November 8, 2004; Page D12

Best Adjustment: The Redskins went away from their traditional counter running under Coach Joe Gibbs and switched to a zone scheme better suited to shifty tailback Clinton Portis, who finished with his third 100-yard game of the season. Instead of following blockers to a specific hole, Portis had the freedom to pick his openings, and he took advantage to gain 147 yards on 34 carries.

Best Catch: On the Lions' first possession of the game, rookie wide receiver Roy Williams needed just one hand in making one of the most acrobatic plays of the season. Williams ran an out pattern to the left sideline, leaped over Ryan Clark, reached his right hand out for a one-handed grab and kept both feet inbounds to convert a third and 11.

Game Day: Redskins 17, Lions 10
 Redskins
Clinton Portis runs for 147 yards and throws a tiebreaking touchdown pass to lead the Redskins.
Michael Wilbon: Redskins can still muscle up a victory the old-fashioned way.
Special teams, led by James Thrash, play significant role.
Notebook: Defensive end Phillip Daniels could be lost indefinitely.
News Graphic: The record's the same as '03, but games closer.
Play of the Game: Portis hits Laveranues Coles with a 15-yard TD.
Best & Worst
Sunday's Post: In year five, owner Daniel Snyder keeps his distance.

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_____ As Portis Goes ... _____
Whether its cause or effect, when Clinton Portis rushes well and often, the Redskins win:

Per Game In In
Average Wins Losses
Carries 33 21
Yards 155.3 68.8
Yards per carry 4.7 3.3

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Best Rush: Early in the second quarter, defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin beat guard David Loverne on third down and 10 and dropped quarterback Joey Harrington just as he released the ball.

Best Return: James Thrash gave the Redskins' struggling special teams a boost with a 43-yard punt return in the second quarter. Thrash waited for his blocking to develop, then turned the corner near the right sideline to give the Redskins the ball at the Lions 42-yard line.

Worst Penalty: Cornerback Fred Smoot was called for a personal foul after tossing Reggie Swinton to the ground after he was out of bounds. Swinton had made a catch in front of Smoot, who grabbed the wide receiver around the waist as both players were headed out of bounds, then spun him to the ground instead of letting go.

Worst Penalty II: For the second week in a row, the Redskins had a touchdown called back because of a mental gaffe. Yesterday in the second quarter, Mark Brunell completed a one-yard pass to Robert Royal for an easy touchdown, but tackle Ray Brown moved before the snap. The Redskins had to settle for a 24-yard field goal from Ola Kimrin.

Worst Penalty III: The Redskins put Detroit in field goal range after safety Todd Franz and linebacker Antonio Pierce tackled Lions tight end Stephen Alexander around the ankles out of bounds. Alexander had just caught a 14-yard pass to the Redskins 37, and that personal foul call moved the ball to the 22. Jason Hanson then kicked a 40-yard field goal seconds before halftime to tie the game at 3.

Worst Challenge: Early in the second quarter, the Redskins challenged a play when they thought Harrington had thrown the ball when he was past the line of scrimmage. Replays showed Harrington was two yards behind the line of scrimmage when he threw it, and the Redskins were charged a timeout.

Best Concentration: Thrash made his second big play on special teams when he leaped into the end zone on a punt and prevented a touchback by pushing the ball back in play. The Redskins then downed the ball at the Lions 3-yard line.

Worst Celebration: On the ensuing play, linebacker Marcus Washington stopped tailback Kevin Jones at the 1. Washington celebrated in the end zone, and Smoot joined him, prompting officials to call unsportsmanslike conduct. That moved the ball to the 16.

Best Trickery: The Redskins scored their first touchdown when Portis threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles. Portis had been running well, and the Lions followed him on the toss, but Portis held up and delivered the throw to Coles in the right side of the end zone.

Best Punt: Tom Tupa nailed a 59-yard punt midway through the third quarter that landed at the Lions 16-yard line. It was Tupa's sixth punt of the game.

Best Block: Taylor Jacobs blocked a punt at the Lions 27 in the third quarter, and Walt Harris picked up the loose ball and returned it 13 yards for a touchdown that gave Washington a 17-3 lead.

Best Interception: On fourth down and 18 late in the fourth quarter, Smoot made a diving interception on a Harrington pass intended for David Kircus. The Lions had driven to the Redskins 28 and elected to go for it because they were trailing by 14 points.

-- Gene Wang


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