Thomas Boswell: Sunday's performance was better, by a mile

By Thomas Boswell
Monday, November 16, 2009

For one Indian summer afternoon at FedEx Field on Sunday, the Redskins let Washington put on rose-colored NFL glasses that, for now, alter the hue of a dismal season. With a 27-17 win over Denver, full of battering runs by Ladell Betts and a trick-field-goal touchdown bomb by a punter named Hunter, the maroon and black suddenly looked a bit like the burgundy and gold once again.

Don't blink. It may not last. If you can't prevail at home over a team on a two-game losing streak that loses its quarterback before halftime and

never scores again, you won't win many.

But don't cheat yourself of pleasure, either. The Redskins certainly aren't. Their locker room was like a room full of kids who had finally passed a test in school and been given their TV and Internet privileges back. They know how bizarre and deeply needed this victory was.

"We've had a desert experience . . . very arid, if you will, the last few weeks," Coach Jim Zorn said. "So to be able come off with a win, you almost don't know how to feel. Yet we remember very quickly. We sure like winning."

This isn't how you usually win, even if you're a 3-6 team. They did it with subs, with mirrors, with tricks and with more heart than they're usually given credit for.

A running back amassed 114 yards and a score, only it was not injured Clinton Portis but Betts, seldom used for three years. "I didn't remember how to get to this [interview] room," Betts said.

A tight end caught a touchdown pass. But it was Todd Yoder, not injured Pro Bowler Chris Cooley.

The Redskins even connected on a 35-yard touchdown pass that traveled about 50 yards in the air. It didn't fly from Jason Campbell to Santana Moss but, instead, from fake-field-goal-holder Hunter Smith to 275-pound fullback Mike Sellers on a fourth-and-20 gamble. With shifts, men in motion and a Smith rollout to the right, the Broncos never noticed the enormous Sellers going from the right of the formation to the deep left.

"It was a touchdown or nothing" play, said Smith, who is now the only Redskin to both run and pass for a score this year.

Typical of a day when most things broke their way, the Redskins tipped off their trick play -- lining up for a 53-yard field goal, then breaking into their shifts, before realizing they only had 10 men on the field. So they called a timeout.

Paging Fred Davis, please, report to the Crazy Danny Smith trick-play unit. Then, with Davis on board, they called it again. And it worked. "Must be a pretty good play, huh?" Smith said.

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