ARLINGTON, Texas — In a six-second blur of fingertips and churning legs, Pierre Garcon returned.
Gone was the wide receiver frustrated by an injured right foot that had him considering season-ending surgery three weeks ago.
Instead, Garcon showed the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday why the Washington Redskins heaped $42.5 million over five years on him during the offseason. And in the midst of a 59-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that silenced 90,166 once-deafening fans inside Cowboys Stadium, Garcon provided a glimpse of how his speed can transform an offense.
“He’s here for that,” fellow receiver Santana Moss said. “We’re happy to have that kind of threat out there. That gives everybody more opportunities to go and be special.”
Since the preseason, Garcon, who finished with five catches for 93 yards Thursday, hadn’t been right. The six-year veteran signed as a free agent from the Indianapolis Colts in March to give the Redskins a badly needed No. 1 receiver with sure hands who could stretch defenses.
But a bruised right foot during the preseason lingered. An 88-yard touchdown grab in the season-opener against the New Orleans Saints only distracted from the problem. Garcon’s speed and explosiveness, the core of his game, eroded.
A series of visits to doctors eventually revealed not a bruised foot but a plantar plate tear on the bottom of his foot.
Fear entered for Garcon. He didn’t want to undergo surgery. Could playing on the foot cause a dislocation? Or would he overcompensate and somehow injure another part of his body?
Finally convinced the foot wouldn’t get worse on the field, Garcon played Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, his first game since Oct. 7. Garcon caught three passes for 5 yards, more decoy than deep threat.
“He’s been missed in this offense for a while,” running back Alfred Morris said.
Garcon started the game and, a few minutes later, snagged a 6-yard pass. Then he turned a short toss into 7 yards. If anything, the artificial surface, instead of aggravating the injury, made him appear quicker.
“It all came down to how the turf felt,” Garcon said. “I wanted to play. I wanted to go out there and gut it out and I did that, really.”