- The Washington Times - Monday, December 29, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO | Washington’s up-and-down season ended in appropriate fashion for its highly touted quartet of cornerbacks. The Redskins blew a 10-point, third-quarter lead Sunday and lost 27-24 to the 49ers on the game’s final play.

DeAngelo Hall, who’s unsigned for 2009 after arriving in November and became a starter with four games remaining, blunted San Francisco’s early momentum with a key third-down tackle at the Washington 29-yard line.

Carlos Rogers, lights out early in the season but a nickel corner late, gave the offense the ball at the San Francisco 23 in the second quarter with a terrific interception, but it only yielded a field goal. Fred Smoot, who started eight games when Shawn Springs was hurt, was burned by Jason Hill for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. And Springs failed to prevent Bryant Johnson from making a 24-yard catch that set up Joe Nedney’s winning field goal.

“I got ‘em off the field, but it doesn’t mean anything because we didn’t win,” said Hall, who figures to receive lucrative offers in free agency if Washington doesn’t re-sign him before March 1. “How did we not get [a touchdown] out of [Rogers’ interception]?”

Still, the 25-year-old Chesapeake, Va., native said he has loved playing for the Redskins after an unhappy half-season in Oakland and a bad ending to his four years in Atlanta.

“I had a blast,” he said.

Smoot declined interview requests, perhaps sensing that coming off a poor second half with a $4.15 million salary cap figure for 2009 and his 30th birthday approaching, he might well have played his last game for the Redskins.

Springs, who will be 35 in March and has an unwieldy $8.485 million cap cost in 2009, said it struck him that he made his 1997 NFL debut in the same stadium.

“I don’t know what to think,” Springs said of his future. “We should’ve won this game.”

Portis ready for break

Clinton Portis‘ 370 touches were third in the NFL this season, but unlike the two playoff-bound players ahead of him - Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and Atlanta’s Michael Turner - the Redskins’ Pro Bowl running back has more than a month of rest coming.

“I need a break,” said Portis, who scored his team-high ninth touchdown Sunday but also jump-started the 49ers’ comeback with a fumble in the third quarter. “I gotta get away from football.”

Portis has injured a knee, a hip, ribs and his neck this year, but he hasn’t missed a game since finishing 2006 on injured reserve with a broken hand.

“The only way you’re gonna stay from being banged up when you’re the focal point of every team is not playing,” said Portis, whose 80 rushing yards gave him 1,487 for the season, second to his team record of 1,516 in 2005. “I fought through my injuries. I stayed on the field. It just didn’t go our way.

“The first half was great. The second half sucked. We blew it.”

Davis’ quiet season

Former Maryland and Dunbar High standout Vernon Davis completed his third NFL season quietly. The former San Francisco first-round pick caught three passes for 18 yards, finishing the season with a modest 31 catches. Last year, he caught 52 passes.

“I got better,” he said. “It was a matter of opportunities. There weren’t as many as I’d have liked. They just weren’t there.”

cJeff Fletcher contributed to this article.

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