- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Running back Ladell Betts missed time late during the season because of an injury, but he gave the Washington Redskins crucial relief in their playoff opener Saturday.

Betts carried a season-high 10 times for 25 yards in the Redskins’ 17-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in relief of Clinton Portis, who had two bad shoulders.

Betts missed three games (Weeks 12 to 14) with a sprained MCL sustained in the Redskins’ 36-35 loss to the Buccaneers. In the first four games after his return, he carried just two times for 4 yards as he conditioned himself back up to speed while Portis was having five consecutive 100-yard games.

“The first couple weeks, the knee was still bothering me, but lately I’ve felt good,” Betts said yesterday. “It was a little frustrating because I had never done any ligament damage to my knee before. It was [tough] being a running back and having to cut and plant, but it’s back to where it was. I just had to get used to it and trust it all over again.”

Having a healthy Betts will allow the Redskins to give Portis a rest against Seattle.

“He’s banged up, just natural soreness from carrying the ball for [17] straight games,” Betts said.

Home + bye = win

Since the current playoff format was instituted in 1990, teams that have first-round byes and then play a divisional-round game at home are 50-10, including 27-3 in the NFC. The only NFC road teams to win were Carolina at St. Louis in 2003, Philadelphia at Chicago in 2001 and Green Bay at San Francisco in 1995.

Four teams have won two road playoff games to reach the Super Bowl: Buffalo (1992, at Pittsburgh and Miami), Tennessee (1999, at Indianapolis and Jacksonville), Baltimore (2000, at Tennessee and Oakland) and Carolina (2003, at St. Louis and Philadelphia). Each of those teams won a first-round game at home.

The Redskins are 0-3 in road divisional-round games since 1990, losing to San Francisco in 1990 and 1992 and Tampa Bay in 1999.

Ticket story

Saturday’s game at Qwest Field is officially a sellout. Seahawks officials said yesterday the “few thousand” available tickets sold out in 10 minutes.

The EBay Web site was full of available tickets but at hefty prices. Two club-level tickets fetched 32 bids and a price of $860.

Qwest Field seats 67,000 for football.

Extra points

The Redskins placed defensive end Renaldo Wynn (broken forearm) on injured reserve and replaced him on the 53-man roster with linebacker Nick McNeil. With the exception of one week, McNeil had been on the practice squad since early October. … The Redskins were off yesterday and will practice today and tomorrow before departing for Seattle on Thursday. …

Receiver James Thrash had surgery to place a small plate into his broken thumb. Coach Joe Gibbs said Thrash’s injury is “a day-to-day thing,” but he is expected to be fitted with a cast that will allow him to catch the football. …

Quote of the day, from safety Ryan Clark: “We’re definitely blessed. We have a lot of people on this team and a lot of parents that pray a lot. My mom prays so much she might need knee surgery at the end of the season.”

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