- The Washington Times - Monday, November 16, 2009

When you’re 2-6 and you’re losing to a team with one of the NFL’s best records in front of a surly home crowd and you’ve become the butt of so many jokes, well, it might be time to try something different.

So the Washington Redskins resorted to some trickery against the Denver Broncos on Sunday at FedEx Field - and it worked.

Trailing 14-7 in the second quarter, the Redskins ran a play that began with Shaun Suisham lining up for a field goal attempt and ended with a 35-yard touchdown pass from punter Hunter Smith to fullback Mike Sellers.

The trick play was “Tiger Special,” concocted by special teams coach Danny Smith. The Redskins had practiced it with wide receiver Antwaan Randle El but only this week with Hunter Smith. On fourth-and-20 from the Denver 20, Suisham lined up for an apparent 53-yard field goal attempt with Smith holding. Then he went in motion to the left, and tight end Todd Yoder did the same. But the Redskins had to call a timeout because they had only 10 men on the field.

Then they ran the play all over again.

“Once we called timeout, I wasn’t sure whether we’d kick the field goal or do the fake,” Yoder said. “It was just a great call by [Danny Smith] to stick with it.”

Even though the Broncos had seen the formation, the Redskins “didn’t show” what the play would be, Sellers said. But he did admit “it looked kind of scary at first.”

Denver was expecting something unusual. But what?

“That was maybe a little intimidating for a second, but I kind of felt we had the upper hand with the trickery of the play,” Hunter Smith said.

After the timeout and with a full complement of players, the Redskins tried it again. They lined up for the field goal before Suisham and Yoder again went in motion to the left. Then Yoder reversed and went back to the right. With Smith alone in the backfield, Denver coach Josh McDaniels said he expected a pooch punt.

Smith took the long snap and rolled out to the right. Sellers, lined up on the right, floated along the line of scrimmage to the left and turned upfield.

“Out the back door, and we didn’t have anyone on him,” McDaniels said.

It was Yoder who got their attention. Earlier, he caught his second touchdown pass in two games.

“The whole play hinges on whether they take that bait,” Hunter Smith said. “And they did. Everybody hesitated just enough that nobody noticed Mike slipping out until it was too late.”

Smith, who ran for a touchdown on a fake field goal in the opener against the Giants, had to throw across his body nearly 50 yards. But he did it with ease. Sellers gathered the pass in at the 5-yard line and strolled into the end zone.

“Hunter throws the ball very well,” Suisham said. “He’s got a better arm than what you saw. He can throw darts. He went to Notre Dame.”

Recruited by the Fighting Irish as a wide receiver and quarterback, Smith ended up as the punter there. In his 10 seasons in Indianapolis before this year, he was often the team’s third quarterback. But he threw just one incomplete pass - back in 2005.

“The players did a great job executing it,” Danny Smith said. “They wanted to run it. [Saturday] night in the meetings, they wanted to do it, and I told them if the situation arose, we would get it done, and they executed.”

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