Redskins Notebook

Portis Says Redskins Players Deserve Blame for Loss to Bengals

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 15, 2008

CINCINNATI, Dec. 14 -- Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis carried the ball 25 times Sunday, more than he had in the last two games combined. After a 20-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals that all but ended the team's playoff hopes, he concentrated on his team's fate, not his own.

"We didn't execute," he said. "You can't put that on the coaches. It was us on the field."

Portis's every remark was monitored last week after he scorched Coach Jim Zorn in his weekly radio appearance on "The John Thompson Show." Portis was upset that he had only one carry in the second half of last week's loss at Baltimore, and he sarcastically called Zorn a "genius."

The pair met on Wednesday, and both said the difference of opinion was behind them. Zorn said he expected Portis to be his "workhorse" against Cincinnati, and he was. Backup Ladell Betts, who played in Portis's place against Baltimore, carried just twice. Portis gained 77 yards for a 3.1-yard average per carry.

Portis was asked how the team would approach its remaining two games, with postseason hopes all but gone.

"You still got a job to do," he said. "We can't pack it in. We still got two games. Cincinnati didn't pack it in. That's how they came out and beat us."

Frustration for Cartwright

Special teams standout Rock Cartwright did what he could to help the Redskins' struggling offense. Cartwright had a 36.4-yard average on five kickoff returns, including an 87-yard return late in the fourth quarter with Washington trailing by 10 points.

After Cartwright's longest kickoff return of the season, however, Washington failed to score a touchdown. The Redskins started on the Bengals 13-yard line, lost five yards on a delay-of-game penalty and settled for Shaun Suisham's 36-yard field goal with just 1 minute 43 seconds to play.

That ended the scoring and capped what was a frustrating day for Cartwright despite his individual success.

"I can't put my finger on" what went wrong this season, Cartwright said. "We go from being 6-2 to being 7-7 and losing five out of the last six. It's real frustrating. Guys put in a lot of work. We went through training camp, OTAs, two-a-days, I mean, you expect more out of the season.

"But what can we do now? The game is over. You can't replay it. You just got to continue to work. We've got two more games left, and hope we can get some wins these last two games. Some guys going to be playing for their jobs. Guys are going to have to go out and play. This is how you raise your family."

Down Time for Smoot, Rogers

With the return of Shawn Springs to the lineup, fellow cornerback Fred Smoot was dropped to fourth in the rotation and rarely was on the field. Smoot said he and Carlos Rogers, whose playing time also was reduced, weren't surprised by their lack of playing time.

"Me and 'Los already knew we weren't gonna get as many snaps," Smoot said. "Why? We don't know. Nobody talks to us."

Smoot said he didn't know who had made the decision to reduce his time on the field. When asked whether the duo would face the same situation next week, Smoot said, "We don't know, man."

Staff writer Dan Steinberg contributed to this report.

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