Ankles aren’t supposed to bend the way Santana Moss contorted his left foot in the end zone on Thursday. And if they do, there’s usually some type of tear and pain involved.
Moss, though, turned his bones to rubber and was just fine when he stood up to celebrate his touchdown catch.
His nimble footwork at the sideline resulted in the fourth touchdown of a 28-point second quarter that propelled the Washington Redskins to a 38-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
It was another example of a wide receiver making a big play. That list has been long over the last week. In the Redskins‘ two victories, they’ve had eight touchdown receptions, five by wide receivers.
Coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan envisioned such success last offseason when they overhauled the team’s receiving corps in an attempt to fortify rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III’s supporting cast.
“You’re asking your guys to step up, and I thought they did exactly what we were hoping our receiving corps would do in a game like that,” Shanahan said Friday.
There is a new explosive element to the group this season. With five games remaining, Redskins wide receivers already have equaled last season’s total of eight passing plays that gained at least 30 yards.
That isn’t surprising. This year’s group is faster and more explosive, even with top X receiver Pierre Garcon hampered by a sprained right foot he suffered in the first quarter of the season-opener.
Second-year speedster Aldrick Robinson, who caught a 68-yard touchdown against Dallas, is playing an increased role this season.
Moss at age 33 isn’t the explosive player he once was, but even he has touchdown receptions of 77, 61 and 30 yards so far.
“Opportunities,” Moss said. “Coach is calling great plays, and we are just making them. We have that kind of speed out there. We have those kinds of players.”
Garcon against Dallas provided a reminder of his ability on his 59-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.
Griffin intentionally threw the ball behind Garcon on a crossing route because linebacker Bruce Carter dropped into the middle after stepping up against play action. Griffin zipped the throw just beyond Carter’s fingertips. Garcon had to reach back, and he ended up spinning around 360 degrees. The catch was a fantastic adjustment and demonstration of body control.
Then Garcon accelerated around the corner, past cornerback Brandon Carr and straight to the end zone. He gained 45 of the 59 yards after the catch.
“Not too many people have the speed or the ability or the agility to catch that and keep on going and find a way to get to the end zone,” Shanahan said. “That was pretty impressive.”