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].”