By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 5, 2005
ST. LOUIS, Dec. 4 -- Coach Joe Gibbs said last week he was looking for performances, and by halftime, the Redskins had 169 yards rushing. That Clinton Portis had 89 yards was at least partially expected against St. Louis, one of the worst defensive teams in football.
But the big boost came in the second quarter, from Rock Cartwright, who rushed for 80 yards on two carries in the first half and finished with a career-high 118 yards on nine carries.
Cartwright's big quarter continues a burst of high production for him. Last week against the Chargers, Cartwright scored on a 13-yard run in the third quarter.
It was also quite a gift for him. Cartwright celebrated his 26th birthday on Saturday.
"It's a great birthday gift to me so I say thanks to the O-line," Cartwright said.
After Portis scored on a 47-yard run that gave the Redskins a 7-0 lead in the first quarter against the Rams, Cartwright took a handoff on third and one from his 42 and ran 52 yards to the St. Louis 6. The Redskins would finish the series with a 38-yard John Hall field goal.
The 52-yard run was the longest of Cartwright's career. It was the first time this season Redskins backs produced two rushing plays of 45 yards in the same game. The last time the Redskins had two 100-yard rushers in the same game was three years ago against Houston, when Ladell Betts rushed for 116 and Kenny Watson 110.
"This is the first 100-yard game for him ever in the NFL, and if there is anyone who deserves it, it's Rock," said Gibbs. "Not only because he rushed for 100 yards today, but because of the way he played on special teams. He'll do anything to win, and he kind of pictures what a real Redskin is all about."
A week ago, after dropping three passes that stalled drives and kept the Redskins from putting away the Chargers, Robert Royal was in the Redskins' locker room at FedEx Field in tears, convinced he cost his team a game it needed to win.
The next day, Coach Joe Gibbs gave Royal a vote of confidence, saying he had no intention of removing Royal as his starter for Robert Johnson.
On Sunday, Johnson was inactive, and Royal came up big in a revived passing game. Royal caught four passes for 40 yards, the biggest being a 29-yard romp that began a seven-play, 69-yard drive that ended with Portis's second touchdown.Arrington Banged Up
LaVar Arrington left the game in the second quarter with a quadriceps injury. He was listed as questionable and did not return until midway through the third quarter.
Arrington had two big plays in the game. The first came on St. Louis's first play from scrimmage when he stopped a tight end screen for a loss of seven yards. The next came in the fourth quarter, when a screen pass to Steven Jackson looked promising until Arrington rushed from the other side of the field to stop Jackson for a four-yard gain.
In addition to Arrington, the team announced Portis suffered a bruised shin, and defensive backs Ryan Clark and Ade Jimoh had sprained ankles. . . .
Ryan Boschetti got the start in place of the injured Cedric Killings at defensive tackle. . . . Mike Sellers played his first game since being knocked out of the Nov. 13 game against Oakland. Sellers was in at fullback and credited with a key block that sprang Portis's 47-yard touchdown. . . . Ronald Bartell, the Rams cornerback who played at Howard, was in the middle of Portis's big touchdown run. Bartell had a chance to make a play but was run down by Sellers and pulling guard Randy Thomas.