ST. LOUIS — Clinton Portis hurt his shin and Rock Cartwright lost a critical fumble seven weeks ago in a loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City.
Yesterday, on the other side of Missouri, the results were far more satisfying: Portis and Cartwright each rushed for more than 100 yards to lead the Redskins to a 24-9 victory over the St. Louis Rams in the Edward Jones Dome.
The Redskins pounded out 257 yards rushing on 40 carries.
“We wanted to come out and run the ball, and we did. … The offensive line got an opportunity to fire off the ball, and it opened up lanes for us,” said Portis, who gained 136 yards on 27 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Portis certainly had a lane in which to run behind guard Randy Thomas, tight end Robert Royal and H-backs Mike Sellers and Chris Cooley on the second play of Washington’s second series.
“Once I turned the corner, I saw Randy out ahead of me running full speed,” Portis said of his 47-yard touchdown run. “He’s our best puller. I knew that little DB didn’t want to take him on. He wiped the DB out. Anytime I get back that deep, it’s going to be off to the races.”
Portis was shaken up after a collision with defensive tackle Damione Lewis later in the first half. Cartwright stepped in, tearing off a 52-yard run that set up a 38-yard field goal by John Hall. That score put the Redskins on top to stay at 10-7 with 3:11 left in the first half.
“I came out for a couple of plays and saw Rock break, so I had to shake the cobwebs off because I couldn’t let him have all the yards,” Portis said with a grin.
Cartwright gained a career-high 118 yards on just nine carries even though he had a 25-yard run on the last play of the first half wiped out by a holding penalty on Casey Rabach.
“I’ve never had that much open space since I’ve been in the league,” said Cartwright, a four-year veteran. “The O-line did a great job. [On my 52-yard run], they pretty much parted like the Red Sea, and all I had to do was run. I should’ve scored, but I got caught on the 5-yard line.”
Just as important as the long runs was Portis’ work near the end zone: He punched it in on third-and-goal from the 1 to put Washington up 17-7 with 13:46 left.
“Third down has been killing us the last three weeks,” Portis said. “Usually on third-and-short, we come out trying to pass, and we haven’t been converting. This week, we stuck with the run all game long, and it proved out. With the goal line run, I just cut back and dove over the top.”
Portis said the Redskins knew they had to play ball control to keep the explosive St. Louis offense off the field. That’s just what they did, keeping possession for nearly seven minutes longer than the Rams.
Williams addresses buzz
Gregg Williams, the Redskins’ assistant head coach-defense, was talked about in the St. Louis media this weekend as a candidate to be the Rams’ next coach.