Richard Crawford sparked the Redskins’ maligned punt return game in last Sunday’s overtime victory over Baltimore.
In his debut as Washington’s punt returner, he had returns of 20, 16 and 64 yards. Brandon Banks, whom Crawford replaced, has averaged only 6.8 yards per punt return this season.
Crawford benefited from quality blocking, especially on the 64-yarder that set up the game-winning field goal in overtime. But Crawford’s skill set did provide a fresh approach to the return game, according to coach Mike Shanahan.
“What Richard did is he took the ball as soon as he caught it upfield and made some people miss,” Shanahan said. “If you can get 10 yards on a punt return, you’re doing great. And that’s what he was able to do: catch the ball and turn it up field, get some positive yards. When he was doing that a couple punt returns, he’s got some big yardage, and obviously the last one was the difference in the game.”