- The Washington Times - Monday, November 16, 2009

There was little reason to suspect it was going to be a good afternoon for the Washington Redskins on Sunday in the House That Jack Built and Danny Expanded.

After all, they had limped home from Atlanta last week after a fourth straight loss dropped them to 2-6. They were a heck of a lot closer to the No. 1 overall pick than to .500. And running back Clinton Portis and young safety Chris Horton had joined an injury list that already included offensive linemen Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas and Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley.

And after two deep touchdown throws from Denver’s Kyle Orton to Brandon Marshall in the first 12 minutes, the Redskins could have figured their misery would continue.

Instead, they received contributions from a plethora of backups, particularly running back Ladell Betts and left tackle Levi Jones, and rallied for 13 fourth-quarter points to upset the Broncos 27-17.

Q: Any way you saw this coming?

A: Not a chance. Other than the inexcusable losses to Detroit and Kansas City, this was the most unexpected result this year. Losing Orton just before halftime was huge because backup quarterback Chris Simms was atrocious. But the Redskins didn’t seem to have this much fight left in them; they had not won since Oct. 4 and had not really enjoyed a victory since stunning the Eagles 11 months ago.

Q: Should Betts start the rest of the year even if Portis recovers from the concussion that sidelined him?

A: Betts certainly made a serious argument at least to share the job. Despite being limited in practice all week because of a sprained ankle and operating behind a newly constituted line, Betts ran harder and more productively than Portis had since 2008 at Detroit. Not coincidentally, that’s the last game in which coach Jim Zorn’s offense played well.

Q: What were the Broncos thinking on the fake field goal?

A: Denver special teams coach Mike Priefer should get his resume ready. That a team can be unprepared to defend something the opponent showed before a timeout is ridiculous. Redskins special teams coach Danny Smith, on the other hand, must be a heck of a poker player, showing his hand and still having holder Hunter Smith pass 35 yards for a touchdown to the wide-open Mike Sellers. Hunter Smith has been involved in as many touchdowns (two) as any Redskins player other than Jason Campbell.

Q: How the heck did Marshall get so open on the first two Denver touchdowns?

A: Marshall’s a good receiver, and he sold his double move to Carlos Rogers like so much Florida real estate. The Redskins had no deep help, and Marshall waltzed into the left side of the end zone for the 40-yard score. The same thing happened two series later as cornerback DeAngelo Hall let Marshall go and safety LaRon Landry didn’t get over in time to prevent the 75-yard touchdown on the right side of the end zone to make it 14-7.

Q: Why did the Redskins run wide with Rock Cartwright on fourth-and-inches from the Denver 28 trailing 17-14 late in the third quarter?

A: It was an awful choice. You can’t run straight ahead behind Pro Bowl fullback Mike Sellers or have 6-foot-5 Campbell sneak for the first down? C’mon.

Q: Where has Todd Yoder been? He has two catches, both for touchdowns, the past two weeks.

A: Yoder is in his fourth year as the blocking tight end. Aside from his recent touchdowns, his claims to fame are catching the first touchdown passes as Redskins by Campbell and Todd Collins and that he’s one of three Redskins players with Super Bowl rings. Yoder won his with Tampa Bay in 2002. The others are linebacker London Fletcher (St. Louis, 1999) and receiver Antwaan Randle El (Pittsburgh, 2005).

Q: Does this victory turn the season around?

A: Probably not. Washington next faces NFC East powers Dallas and Philadelphia on the road before unbeaten New Orleans visits. But the win over Denver will make for the happiest week at Redskin Park this season.

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