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A confidence builder
Call it more than a sophomore slump. Call it a sinkhole.
Week after week, opposing quarterbacks picked on Carlos Rogers and came away smiling. If the Redskins cornerback wasn’t chasing receivers who beat him deep, he was allowing a cushion wide enough to hold the Redskins’ marching band on underneath routes.
Rogers, playing as a rookie, dropped a sure interception that would have been returned for a touchdown in the Redskins’ playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks last season. Ever since, he has displayed a touch worthy of Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran.
Rogers, however, did not cry “no mas,” as Duran did in his loss to Prince Georges County’s own Sugar Ray Leonard in the Superdome in 1980.
Facing a Saints offense that led the NFL in passing and total yards, Rogers instead made two huge plays that helped the Redskins to a 16-10 upset of the NFC South champions.
The Saints, trailing 13-10 with 10:36 remaining, wormed their way out of a third-and-19 hole at their own 6-yard line on a pass from quarterback Drew Brees to wideout Marques Colston.
On the next play, Rogers stepped in front of receiver Devery Henderson and — after bobbling the ball — intercepted his first pass of the season.
“It felt really good. Everyone has been asking me about [the lack of interceptions],” said Rogers, who was mobbed by his teammates after the play. “I was just sitting back, and I turned around, and he threw the ball to me. Catching it was the biggest thing.”
Defensive end Phillip Daniels, who entered yesterday’s game with more interceptions than Rogers, was thrilled that No. 22 finally corralled No. 1.
“I feel great for Carlos because he’s taken a lot of heat this year,” Daniels said. “That’s his sophomore jinx, but he should be better for it down the road.”
Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams teased Rogers about bobbling the ball before finally hauling it in for good.
“I guess Carlos wants three interceptions on that one because it took him three times to catch it,” Williams said. “That was a difference-making play.”
The Redskins took that turnover and turned it into a field goal, leaving the Saints down six points with 4:09 remaining. On their next possession, the Saints converted a fourth-and-5 and a third-and-10 in reaching the Washington 19.
The Saints gained only 3 yards on their next three plays, forcing them to go for it on fourth-and-7 with 53 seconds remaining.
By Emily Miller
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