Understaffed Receiving Corps Makes Contributions
Monday, November 6, 2006
The Washington Redskins had just three wide receivers dressed for yesterday's game, with Santana Moss and David Patten out with hamstring injuries, and all contributed in unique ways to a 22-19 win at FedEx Field. No one had a monster game to fill the void left by Moss, the team's premier pass catcher, but James Thrash, Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El each made plays to keep the offense afloat.
Lloyd, who was expected to complement Moss as a downfield threat, had just two catches for 26 yards, and still has yet to reach 200 receiving yards on the season, but threw a key block to spring tailback Clinton Portis for a 38-yard touchdown run and drew a 48-yard pass interference penalty on an option pass from Randle El to set up the touchdown that tied the score at 19 in the fourth quarter. Another long pass was negated by a holding penalty.
"When the opportunity presents itself, you have to take advantage of it," Lloyd said. "You put a block like that on somebody and it feels like I scored that touchdown."
Randle El threw a perfect spiral on the pass to Lloyd, and continued to make the opposition dizzy on punt returns, giving the Redskins quality field position throughout the game and threatening to break several returns for touchdowns. He did not a make a catch however, and like, Lloyd, has less than 200 yards this season. Thrash has been largely used on special teams but is an elite blocker and was a clutch third-down receiver yesterday, catching three passes for 52 yards, including a 27-yard reception. His 17-yard catch on a third down in the fourth quarter led to a field goal attempt that would have put the Redskins ahead, but was blocked.
"Those guys really made a great contribution, especially without Santana," said Al Saunders, associate head coach-offense. "James did a tremendous job. That's why he's played in the league for so long -- he's so dependable."
Washington's offense remained erratic for the most part, however, with Portis contained to 3.7 yards per carry, and the team producing just 17 yards of total offense in the third quarter, when it ran just eight plays. The Redskins, who had 300 yards of offense on the day, have scored 16 offensive touchdowns in eight games.
"We've still got a long ways to go," Saunders said.
Washington's defense was again suspect against the deep pass. Adam Archuleta, the highest-paid safety in NFL history, was a backup most of the game and allowed a 28-yard pass to tight end Jason Witten in the dying seconds that could have cost the game. Four Cowboys had receptions of 20 yards or more -- the Redskins enter the week having allowed the second-highest number of such plays in the NFL -- and Terrell Owens dropped a sure long touchdown pass as well.
"We just tried to fight hard this game," starting cornerback Shawn Springs said. "That's all we could do. Guys are just trying to get healthy and get better."
Bubba Tyer, director of sports medicine, said the team suffered only "bumps and bruises" in the game. The Redskins' defense was entirely healthy for the first time all season. . . . Dallas committed 11 penalties for 153 yards, third-most in franchise history, while the Redskins were penalized just five times for 41 yards. . . .
Fullback Mike Sellers's role continues to evolve; he carried three times and caught two balls for nine yards as well.