Trent Williams’ injury put a strain on Redskins’ offensive line

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Trent Williams tried. After leaving Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on the Washington Redskins‘ second offensive play from scrimmage with a right knee injury, the left tackle attempted to come back.

He couldn’t stay on the field. A few plays in the second quarter and a handful in the third, and Williams had to spend the rest of the game watching as Robert Griffin III faced relentless pressure.

“That’s my guy. I’ve only been here a little bit, but I don’t want any of my guys to get hurt,” Griffin said. “You can’t replace Trent Williams.”

Williams quickly said “no” when asked if he was concerned that this was a major injury. He sported a big brace on the right knee after the game and was in obvious pain as he tried to play through it.

“I could go left, just had trouble going right,” Williams said. “Didn’t really want to risk giving up a big quarterback hit, so just precautionary reasons.”

Williams was hurt early in the game as he was blocking the Bengals‘ Michael Johnson for running back Alfred Morris.

“I don’t know what it is as of now. I haven’t even looked at the replay,” Williams said. “I just felt it give out on me.”

Backup Jordan Black replaced Williams throughout the game, his first NFL regular-season action since Jan. 2, 2011. He did not take too much positivity from his performance in the loss, but right guard Chris Chester expressed confidence in Black if Williams is out for any period of time.

“[Williams is] a talented guy and has a great deal of ability. When you lose a player of that caliber, it does hurt you,” Chester said. “But at the same time, Jordan’s ready to go. Jordan’s played a lot of ball, and he knows how to step up and play.”

Special teams mixed bag

Special teams coordinator Danny Smith and his units took plenty of criticism over the first two weeks for a couple of blocked punts. Sunday, none of that happened on a mixed day for the Redskins‘ special teams.

On one hand, they handled a fake field goal by the Bengals well, turning the ball over on downs. But late, they were unable to down a punt at the Cincinnati 1 and couldn’t recover an onside kick.

“Overall, special teams, we definitely stepped up. Obviously no blocked punts; I think we did well on the kickoff coverage, had the ball inside the 20 as well as inside the 10, we had some good punt coverages,” linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. “So overall I think we did well and gave our team a chance to win with [Brandon] Banks having a good return. But you’ve got to have a complete game and obviously there’s always plays you look back and wish you had.”

One of those was the onside kick, which Niles Paul recovered just before the 10 yards allowed.

“I took my steps, jumped and thought I was good,” Paul said.

Cincinnati was forced to punt, but Washington’s final drive started at its own 2-yard line and did not prove successful.

Onside kick fails

After Griffin led a touchdown drive to cut the deficit to seven with just more than three minutes left, the Redskins tried an onside kick. Washington thought it had recovered when Niles Paul came up with the ball, but one referee threw a flag.

It never went 10 yards, maybe 9 and change, and the Bengals took over. Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said it was a matter of inches.

“I took my steps, jumped and thought I was good,” Paul said.

Cincinnati was forced to punt, but Washington’s final drive started at the 2-yard line and did not prove successful.

Jackson steps up

Brian Orakpo’s absence was sure to affect the Redskins‘ defense, as his pass-rushing talent is taken away. But Rob Jackson, who started in place of Orakpo, made some plays early Sunday to show he was worthy of the promotion.

“That’s what guys got to do. Everybody gets hurt in the National Football League,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “People have to step up and make plays, and I thought that Rob took advantage of some opportunities out there and looked pretty good at times.”

Jackson’s biggest play came four minutes in when he took advantage of Ryan Kerrigan’s pressure on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to pick the ball off in the end zone for his first career touchdown.

“I saw the back coming out fast. There was pressure from Ryan and, I believe, [linebacker London Fletcher],” Jackson said. “I knew the ball had to come out quick, so I just squeezed a little bit tighter to the running back and he threw me one.”

Extra points

• Cornerbacks Cedric Griffin and Crezdon Butler suffered hamstring injuries Sunday. Shanahan had no further updates on either injury.

• Receiver Leonard Hankerson, who left on the game’s final drive, was OK, Shanahan said.

• When Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis fumbled in the third quarter, it was the first of his career on his 590th carry.

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