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Aches, Pains for Samuels, Springs

By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 12, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz., Dec. 11 -- The Washington Redskins were smiling Sunday as they left Sun Devil Stadium with a 17-13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, but, outside of the win, there was pain. Chris Samuels, the starting left tackle, walked to his locker sporting sizable ice bags on his right knee and ankle.

"Don't worry," he said. "I'll be ready for Dallas [next week]. If I can walk, run, whatever, I'll be ready for Dallas."

Samuels said he was injured in both areas on the same play, when he was blocked and then landed upon by a Cardinals player. The knee injury is a recurrence from earlier this season, but Samuels was not concerned about it. The Redskins do not have an MRI exam scheduled.

"It's not that serious," Samuels said. "I'll be there next week."

Cornerback Shawn Springs hyperextended his back early in the game and later strained his groin. According to Redskins Director of Sports Medicine Bubba Tyer, Springs injured himself trying to reach out to make a play and was hit from behind. Tyer said the injuries are not considered overly serious, but both will be examined Monday.

"Chris Samuels, I'm worried about that," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "Shawn Springs, I'm worried about that. There's a pretty long list."

The Redskins were playing without LaVar Arrington, who injured his right quadriceps in St. Louis a week ago; reserve corner Walt Harris, who injured an ankle and did not make the trip; and wide receiver James Thrash and defensive tackles Cedric Killings and Joe Salave'a.

Brown's Big Break

Defensive end Reynaldo Wynn saw it -- and didn't believe it. Antonio Brown was actually blowing kisses toward the Redskins' sideline and fans on his way to a 91-yard touchdown kickoff return.

"He was gone," Wynn said. "You know how gone he was? He was already blowing kisses at the 50-yard line. He just needed a small window. That was it. The thing about Antonio is he's always close to breaking it. Today, he got one."

Brown's touchdown turned out to be the difference in the game. The Cardinals had taken a 13-10 lead on an 11-play, 66-yard drive that took 3 minutes 40 seconds, but Brown changed the energy in a hurry.

"I think they hit it flush," Cardinals Coach Dennis Green said. "I think we had way too many guys on the wrong side of the ball. Their guy never broke stride. I think we just did a poor job. Probably when that happens, six of 10 guys did a poor job. The kick was low and short, but six of 10 guys did a poor job."

That Brown fumbled in the season opener against Chicago and was released only to return two weeks ago and have an impact made an impression on Gibbs.

"Tony coming back is a great story," he said. "He's a guy coming back who is a first-class person. For him to hit that home run for us was a big deal. It was a little bit of everybody today."

Fans Follow the Sun

The announced crowd at Sun Devil Stadium was 46,654 and included a large number of Redskins fans. At one point during a tight third quarter the Redskins defense urged the fans to get loud, a gesture usually reserved for home games.

"It was really noticeable. We had a lot of fans here and I appreciate them," Gibbs said. "I think when we go on the road like this we have some dedicated fans. Here, for some reason, it seems like we have more fans than what we normally have at an away game. It was noticeable to me." . . . Backup running back Ladell Betts played for the first time since being injured against Tampa. Betts rushed five times for six yards.

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