Ryan Torain has a breakout performance against the Colts

Donovan McNabb and Peyton Manning face-off at FedEx Field.
By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 24, 2010; 11:17 PM

When it was finished, a flock of cameras followed Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb off the field and into the tunnel. Just a few yards back was Ryan Torain - like much of the night, with no one around him - quietly walking to the locker room after a strong outing in a losing effort.

For much of the evening, Torain bounced off defenders and slipped tackles, but his team was unable to sneak by the Indianapolis Colts, losing 27-24. Despite the final score, Torain posted the best game of his young career, rushing for 100 yards on 20 carries. He scored the Redskins' first two touchdowns of the game.

"When my number is called, I just try to do my best. It felt good out there, [but] I just wish we could've got the 'W,' " Torain said.

Torain replaced Clinton Portis in the starting lineup in Week 5 against Green Bay and made his second start of the season Sunday night. While Washington Coach Mike Shanahan can at times be cautious when it comes to praise, he's said Torain could be an elite running back in the NFL. Sunday night marked the first time the 24-year-old Torain showed that potential for an entire game.

He became the Redskins' first rusher to crack 100 yards in the team's past 13 games. Ladell Betts had 114 yards on Nov. 15, 2009, against Denver, which came just three weeks after Portis's most recent 100-yard game.

Torain had such a strong start on Sunday that he topped 100 yards before the final quarter began. He had 103 yards on 19 carries and both of his touchdowns in the first three quarters.

As the Redskins tried to make up a deficit, they turned to the passing game in the fourth. Torain had only one run in the final quarter (a three-yard loss), and rookie Keiland Williams, the team's preferred back in passing situations, saw the bulk of the playing time in the backfield in the game's final moments.

Though Torain didn't get a chance to help his team down the stretch, he did plenty in the game's first three quarters. The game marked just the fifth game and third start of his career, and he posted career highs in carries, yards and touchdowns.

He was like a bumper car at times and the first defender was rarely the one who stopped Torain. He put together eight runs of seven or more yards, including five of 10 or more.

"I can feel the hands on me," he said, "and I just keep going. I know I can't stop until

they blow the whistle. So I just keep going as hard as I can, try to move downhill and do whatever I can to help my team."

Torain's first touchdown tied the game in the closing minutes of the opening quarter. The Redskins began their third offensive possession on their own 11-yard line, and McNabb marched his team down the field. Torain helped with a 16-yard run that put the Redskins in Indianapolis territory and a nine-yard reception that put the Redskins inside the Colts 9. From there, Torain darted around the right end and scrambled the remaining nine yards into the end zone.

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