12.12.2011 / Blog Posts Redskins
By Brian Tinsman
Going into yesterday’s game, exactly one national pundit—ESPN’s Chris Mortensen—picked the Redskins to beat the Patriots. According to pick ‘em leagues, upwards of 80 percent of football fans thought this game would be a Patriots wash.
But the Redskins showed yesterday that they can stand toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in football, servicing notice to the rest of the league.
Despite Rex Grossman going touchdown-for-touchdown with Tom Brady, it was a bit of trickery on offense that turned out to be the play of the game.
On the last play of the first quarter, the Patriots punted the ball to Redskins returner Brandon Banks, who fair-caught the ball at the Patriots’ 49-yard line. On the first play of the second quarter, quarterback Rex Grossman received the snap and handed it off to running back Roy Helu.
But that’s where things got tricky. Rarely used as a receiver, Banks was lined up on the right side of the field and snuck back towards the backfield on the snap. As he ran past his running back, Helu flipped him the ball, and he took off in the other direction.
Banks ran along the line of scrimmage in what turned out to be an option play. Once the defenders bit on him as runner, receiver Santana Moss was left wide open down the left side of the field. Banks threw the ball about 35 yards downfield, where Moss was able to circle back and retrieve it. Because Moss’s defenders had moved up to contain Banks on the run, he had time to make the adjustment and then jog into the end zone for the score.
This stunning pass play was a franchise-long for a non-quarterback, and the first time that it had been properly executed in more than three years. Once trailing 14-3, the Redskins had scored 14 unanswered points and had their first lead of the game.
The Redskins couldn’t quite hold on for the victory yesterday, but they showed that they still have a lot of quality football and unpredictability left in the tank.
Final score: Redskins 27, Patriots 34
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