Redskins let it fly, end losing streak

Redskins let it fly, end losing streak
November 28, 2011, 12:32 am
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UPDATED 10:30 p.m.

SEATTLE Knowing how the playing time at receiver was going to be divided, Anthony Armstrong knew his chances to make a big play for the Redskins offense Sunday at Seattle would be minimal.

One deep shot, maybe another opportunity on a shorter route and that would be it.

Armstrong got exactly one chance. And the result was the end of a six-game losing streak, a 23-17 win over the Seahawks at raucous CenturyLink Field.

Trailing by three points in the fourth quarter, Armstrong lined up wide on the left side and ran straight down the field. Quarterback Rex Grossman slid up in the pocket and lofted a pass into the end zone that Armstrong caught while being interfered with by Brandon Browning for a 50-yard touchdown with 6:18 remaining.

It was Armstrongs first catch in five weeks and first touchdown since the season opener.

When they called the play, I knew Rex was going to put it up for me and he has trust in me regardless of how things have been going, Armstrong said.

The touchdown, which was the Redskins longest offensive play of the year, capped a 10-point comeback. Graham Gano tacked on a 25-yard field goal with 1:06 remaining and DeAngelo Hall capped the win by intercepting Tarvaris Jackson 29 seconds later.

Losing streak over.

Offensive progress continued.

Rookie running back Roy Helu breaking out.

Did we mention losing streak over?

Its been awhile since weve had this feeling, said nose tackle Barry Cofield after the Redskins first win in eight weeks. The last couple weeks, weve shown signs of life and I knew it would happen because the way we were practicing and the way we were preparing.

Said linebacker Brian Orakpo: Six in a row, the losing streak, it was terrible. To come out on the road and finally get a W, we can breathe.

Combined with New Englands dismantling of Philadelphia, the Redskins (4-7) are no longer by themselves in the NFC East cellar. Snapped were the franchises longest losing streak since 1998 and Mike Shanahans longest as an NFL head coach.

Its always nice to do what we did today, when it looks like the chips are down, guys stepped up and made plays, Shanahan said. Anytime you fight back like we did, you feel good about your football team.

Rookie running back Roy Helu rushed 23 times for 108 yards and also led the Redskins with seven catches (for 54 yards). Grossman was 26-of-35 for 314 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The offenses 416 yards were its most since Week 2.

The production on offense and defense made up for committing 10 penalties, woeful third-down work (3 of 10) and a blocked field goal and extra-point apiece.

Even before kickoff, things were crazy between the teams. During the coin toss, the captains from each team had to be restrained as the trash talking went to new heights. The first half was full of finger-pointing and shoving.

It started right off the bat and was really chippy and really emotional and I think we used it to fuel us for the rest of the game, Cofield said.

The offense certainly did, scoring their first opening-drive touchdown of the year on a 14-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 7 minutes, 49 seconds. Grossman capped it by throwing 2 yards to Fred Davis two plays after Davis had a 31-yard catch.

Despite gaining 233 yards, the Redskins didnt have a lead (7-7) because Grossmans first interception was turned into a 20-yard Marshawn Lynch touchdown catch.

Prospects for a seventh straight loss appeared probable when Seattle led 17-7 with 12:45 remaining when Golden Tate ran a quick slant and caught a 15-yard touchdown between DeAngelo Hall and O.J. Atogwe.

But Helu started the comeback with a dazzling 28-yard run on third-and-3 when he hurdled Seattle cornerback Roy Lewis on his way to the end zone.

On the next series, the Redskins faced third-and-19 from midfield after Grossmans intentional grounding penalty.

Armstrong was the primary receiver.

I saw they didnt have help over the top on Armstrong, Grossman said. I tried to buy enough time for him to eat up the cushion of the defender and then eventually blow by him.

Armstrong, the Redskins fastest player, got a step on Browning.

We were both jostling for position but he didnt even look at the ball, Armstrong said. I knew I had enough time to turn around and get up for it and secure it with my body.

Before the catch, Armstrong had 47 yards receiving for the season. After the catch, he had his fifth career touchdown catch.

The defense took over to protect the lead, stopping Seattle on downs (sack by Orakpo and Stephen Bowen) with 2:07 remaining and then Halls interception.

The Redskins now return home for games against the Jets and Patriots with a confidence boost.

We have a lot of hard-working, tough football players that believe in one another, Grossman said. After a losing streak like this, we stepped up and made the plays we needed to make. Its pretty rewarding to win, especially the way we did.

Contact OHalloran at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com