- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 24, 2006

ST. LOUIS — Shawn Springs fractured his right shoulder blade in the first quarter of a 37-31 overtime loss to the St. Louis Rams yesterday, ending the cornerback’s most frustrating season with the Washington Redskins.

“I thought I had made a good play, but I landed on my shoulder,” said Springs, who was covering Pro Bowl receiver Torry Holt when the injury occurred. “I thought it was just a stinger at first. But after a little while I couldn’t even lift my arm, so I had to come out.”

Springs led the Redskins in interceptions and sacks in his debut season with the club in 2004. This season, however, has been tough: Springs underwent pelvic surgery Aug. 15 and missed almost two months. He returned to the starting lineup Oct. 22 against the Indianapolis Colts. He was declared inactive because of a hamstring injury for a Dec. 3 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

“It’s been a nightmare of a season,” said Springs, 31. “The only good thing is that I’ve had a [injured] shoulder before. I’ll be fine in five or six weeks.”

Kenny Wright, who started the first six games of the season in place of Springs, replaced him again yesterday. Ade Jimoh moved up to the third corner spot, and Mike Rumph was declared inactive.

Rams receiver Isaac Bruce burned Wright and safety Sean Taylor for a 43-yard catch that set up the second St. Louis touchdown. The Rams scored on the next play on a 27-yard pass to Dominique Byrd that gave the Rams a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

Scare for Daniels

Defensive end Phillip Daniels got a scare midway through the fourth quarter when his throat muscles spasmed, making it difficult for him to breath. Daniels ran off the field before a Rams field goal attempt with around eight minutes remaining and did not return to the game.

“It was scary because nothing like that had happened to me before,” Daniels said. “I was gasping for air. I ran off the field, and before I got to the bench I had to take a knee because I couldn’t breath. It was like everything turned off. Thank goodness for oxygen. I wanted to come back in the game, but they didn’t let me.”

Daniels expects to play Saturday night against the New York Giants.

In addition to Springs and Daniels, safety Vernon Fox (thumb) and fullback Mike Sellers (shoulder) suffered injuries.

Rocky gets start

Rookie linebacker Rocky McIntosh made his debut in the starting lineup.

McIntosh started in place of Marcus Washington, who was placed on injured reserve Saturday because of a knee injury. McIntosh made eight tackles.

“I saw some suddenness until towards the end, when he made a couple of mistakes,” assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. “But you can’t be real good when you’re giving up those kind of points [37] and those kind of yards [579].”

McIntosh, the Redskins’ top choice (second round) in April’s draft, got the nod over veteran Jeff Posey to replace Washington.

“Somebody went down, so I had to step in,” McIntosh said. “I’m disappointed in myself because I didn’t do enough to help the team win. There were no jitters — it’s too late in the season for all that.”

Betts tops 1,000

Ladell Betts rushed for more than 100 yards yesterday for the fifth consecutive game, tying the franchise record set by Rob Goode in 1951 and equaled by Clinton Portis last season.

In gaining 129 yards on 29 carries, Betts also became the 10th Redskins player to run for at least 1,000 yards in a season, even though he has started only eight games.

Betts is averaging 135.6 yards during his five-game roll.

Red-zone improvement

The Redskins’ offense entered the game with a streak of nine consecutive trips inside the 20-yard line without a touchdown. But against St. Louis, the Redskins finished a season-best 4-for-4 in the red zone.

“That’s the way it should be,” associate head coach-offense Al Saunders said. “If you’re going to be a physical, tough football team, you have to run it effectively, get a hat on a hat and score inside the 20.”

Betts scored two touchdowns in red-zone opportunities, and T.J. Duckett scored his first touchdown of the season.

“Our guys did a great job blocking on the perimeter, and our backs did a great job getting around the edge,” Saunders said.

Jansen returns

Jon Jansen returned to the right tackle spot after sitting out the previous week against the New Orleans Saints because of a torn calf muscle. Jansen tore the calf before the Redskins’ game against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 5 but kept playing on it for the next six weeks.

“The calf did fine,” Jansen said.

Davis scores

Stephen Davis no longer is the running back he was when he started for the Redskins from 1999 to 2002, but the 32-year-old still managed to hurt his old team yesterday.

Davis tied the score at 28-28 with his first touchdown for the Rams, a 10-yard reception from Marc Bulger in the third quarter. He also picked up a crucial first down on the Rams’ game-winning drive in overtime.

“I was happy the coaches gave me a chance,” said Davis, who came in with just 33 carries. “The spring in my step is still there, I just haven’t been playing much. Anytime I play against a team I used to play with it means a little more.”

Said Jansen, who spent four years blocking for Davis: “Obviously, you don’t want Stephen to do well against you, but he’s a class guy, and I wish him the best.”

‘Nemo’ plays

Fullback Nehemiah Broughton, promoted from the practice squad Saturday to replace the injured Washington, was a surprising addition to the active roster.

Broughton, who had played in four games as a rookie last season, was involved in kickoff coverage.

Tight end Brian Kozlowski, receivers David Patten and Mike Espy, offensive lineman Jim Molinaro, defensive linemen Ryan Boschetti and Anthony Montgomery and Rumph were declared inactive. Todd Collins was the third quarterback.

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