- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 11, 2011

A personal foul against linebacker London Fletcher on Sunday left Washington Redskins‘ defenders questioning how, exactly, they’re allowed to hit the quarterback.

With 57 seconds left in the first half, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady scrambled and slid. At the last instant, Brady ducked and Fletcher, with no time to stop, plowed into him.

Fletcher was called for a forearm to the head of the quarterback. Replays showed Fletcher’s arms around Brady’s ribs and nowhere near the quarterback’s head.

“I thought it was horrible,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “That’s what I saw on the replay.”

After the play, linebacker Brian Orakpo said Brady told the defenders “it was a bad call.”

“It just gets to a point even when we do get to [Brady] we don’t know if we can bring him down in a certain way,” Orakpo said. “The times we were getting there, we weren’t bringing Brady down because we didn’t want a call, a penalty.”

Defensive end Stephen Bowen wondered if once-normal hits are being refereed out of football.

“I think it was a bad call,” Bowen said. “They’ve got to let people play. This is a violent game. People are going to get hit. If you’re not in it to get hit, what are you in it for? It’s part of the game.”

Banks takes to the air

When Brandon Banks finally got on the field for his first offensive snap of the season, he made a play with his left arm instead of his legs.

Banks took a reverse toward the left sideline on first-and-10 from the New England 49-yard line on the first play of the second quarter. When Patriots safety James Ihedigbo ran up to stop him, he launched a pass that receiver Santana Moss caught. Moss broke a tackle and scored to give Washington a 17-14 lead.

“When I let go, it kind of was a bad pass,” Banks said. “Then ‘Tana made an adjustment by coming in and catching the ball and breaking a tackle. It was a bad pass. It could’ve been better, but he made me look good.”

Banks, a 5-foot-7 return specialist, did not warm up his arm before the game so as not to give away the play. He also didn’t take his gloves off.

“I can’t throw without the gloves,” he said. “They give me a little extra grip. My hands ain’t but so big.”

Turf conditions steam team

The chewed-up turf at FedEx Field a day after the Army-Navy game didn’t please the Redskins. There were significant brown patches between the hash marks, especially close to midfield.

Tackle Jammal Brown believed field conditions contributed to the left groin injury he aggravated during pregame warm-ups.

“I slipped a little bit as I was doing my drills, got overextended,” said Brown, who did not play as a result. “That field out there wasn’t too good. I went to go right. When I went to push off this [left] leg, I put all my weight on it and it slipped out from under me. I kind of almost did the splits.”

Orakpo called the field “messed up” and the “worst I’ve ever played on in my life.”

“The Army-Navy game really tore it up,” Orakpo said.

The Redskins left the end zones painted with “Army” and “Navy” as part of their weekend-long salute to the military.

Cook, Torain inactive

Lineman Erik Cook, the team’s only backup center, wasn’t active for the first time this season. Combined with Brown’s pregame injury, the Redskins played with one backup lineman.

Running back Ryan Torain wasn’t active, either. Torain fell out of the backfield rotation with Roy Helu’s emergence and additional work for Evan Royster after his elevation from the practice squad. Torain, who led the Redskins in rushing last season, hasn’t recorded a carry since Nov. 20 against the Dallas Cowboys.

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