- The Washington Times - Monday, December 14, 2009

OAKLAND, Calif. | Quinton Ganther’s homecoming couldn’t have gone much better.

The diminutive running back ran for two touchdowns Sunday to help lift the Washington Redskins to a 34-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders. What it made it sweeter for the 25-year-old Ganther is that he grew up in Richmond, Calif., just 17 miles from Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. He had 200 family and friends on hand to watch his first NFL start.

“It’s a dream come true,” Ganther said. “When they told me [Wednesday] I was starting, it was a shock to me, but I told ‘em I wasn’t going to let ‘em down, I was going to make some plays.”

Ganther did that early, catching a short pass on third-and-1 and scooting 42 yards to the Oakland 26-yard line after being sprung on a block by left tackle Levi Jones. The Redskins took the lead four plays later.

“He’s a little guy, but he’s physical,” guard Derrick Dockery said. “He’s hard-nosed. He’ll stick it up in there. He hits the holes hard and runs downhill.”

Ganther averaged just 3.6 yards on his 14 carries, but he ran hard on his pair of 1-yard touchdowns runs in the fourth quarter as the Redskins pulled away.

He also identified areas of his game where he needed to improve, most notably pass protection.

“I didn’t feel too good when I let Jason [Campbell] get hit,” he said.

Davis keeps rolling

Fred Davis continued his productive play since replacing injured Chris Cooley at tight end in Week 7. The second-year player scored both of Washington’s first-half touchdowns

Davis’ first score came on a 6-yard dart from Campbell with 13 seconds left in the first quarter. The other was a nicely lofted 17-yard pass with 56 seconds to go in the half as Davis beat Greg Ellis to the left corner of the end zone.

Davis received a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration after his first touchdown. That meant Graham Gano had to kick off from the 15, and Oakland’s Gary Russell returned it 41 yards to ignite the Raiders’ lone touchdown drive.

“They tried to say I flipped the fans off,” said Davis, who has 28 catches, 324 yards and five touchdowns in seven games since becoming the No. 1 tight end. “I didn’t see that. I was a little upset, so I had to make up for it [with the second touchdown].”

Gano’s debut

A week ago, Gano was basking in the glow of kicking the field goal that gave the Las Vegas Locomotives the first championship of the United Football League. On Sunday, the rookie from Florida State kicked field goals of 46 and 41 yards in his first NFL game despite off-and-on rain that made the footing less than ideal.

Gano signed with the Redskins on Tuesday to replace Shaun Suisham, who missed a late 23-yarder in the loss to the Saints last Sunday.

“I felt like I struck the ball pretty well,” Gano said. “It was a little muddy, but the conditions weren’t too bad. I had the right cleats, so it didn’t matter too much.”

Injuries not severe

Both Campbell and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin injured shoulders, but both are expected to start a week from Monday against Dallas.

Campbell’s injury was to his nonthrowing shoulder. The quarterback was sacked three times and hit many more times, especially during the first three quarters.

The Redskins played without DeAngelo Hall and Albert Haynesworth on defense and Mike Sellers on offense; all three were inactive. The Raiders made former Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot) inactive for the second straight week.

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