- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2008

SEATTLE | Clinton Portis entered Sunday’s game with a sprained knee. He left it with a smirk - and a little more pain.

The NFL’s leading rusher rolled up 143 yards on 29 carries in Washington’s 20-17 win against Seattle, carrying the Redskins to a victory that kept them in the playoff hunt.

“What didn’t I tweak?” Portis asked. “Got hit in the ribs. I’ve got blood running down both of my legs, both of my arms. You sure I don’t have no black eye?”

The Redskins started and finished the game the same way: with Portis. It marked the sixth time this season he has run for more than 120 yards. Sunday’s effort left him with 1,206 yards on the season, 56 short of his 2007 total. He also moved into third all time on the Redskins’ rushing list, passing Stephen Davis.

“He again went to heroics,” coach Jim Zorn said. “Not being able to go all week and being limited in his time … but he told me [Saturday], ‘I’m playing - period.’”

It was a day of redemption for the Washington running game. Third-and-short? Give it to Portis. Bad field position? Give it to Portis. Seahawks’ defensive line dominating? Give it to Portis.

Washington ran the ball 41 times - Jason Campbell carried six times, Ladell Betts five times and Mike Sellers once - and threw it 33 times. The past two weeks combined - both losses - the Redskins threw the ball 78 times and rushed only 33.

“We kind of dub this offense as the Mid-West Coast offense,” said center Casey Rabach, a native of Sturgeon Bay, Wis. “It’s a blue-collar type of offense. It’s what this team has been built for for quite a few years.”

After injuring an oblique in the first half, Portis received treatment that enabled him to stay loose during halftime.

“When you see these guys, you know they’re injured, but they just set the tone,” Zorn said. “It is a war out there, and they’re playing hurt. You know there is nothing you can say except pat them on the back or the shoulder and watch them go.”

Leading 20-17 with 7:05 remaining, the Redskins were pinned at their 4-yard line by a Seattle punt. The first play went to Portis for 9 yards. The next: 11 more from Portis. Another 20 from him the play after. The Redskins eventually ended up at the Seattle 23-yard line. A mere 1:39 remained, and Portis was dinged.

Again.

He trotted off, and Ladell Betts came on. Betts fumbled, the Seahawks recovered and Portis was stunned.

“Every time I get off the field and look, he’s got something going on that scares me,” Portis said of Betts with a half-smile. “Last week he got hurt the play after I got hurt, and I had to run back in. This week I get hurt, the ball comes out, I have to go back in. When are you going to give me time to recover, brother?”

As for this week, Portis said he doesn’t need practice to play well.

“If I can practice, I will. If I don’t, I’m not, ‘Oh man! I’ve got to get out on the practice field!’” he said. “Obviously I’ve got an understanding of the game if I can go out and not practice and come in and play.”

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