- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Redskins’ kicking game delivered another hiccup Sunday, when Graham Gano’s kickoff after the go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter traveled just 45 yards.

Combined with a 29-yard return from Josh Baker of the Jets, the kick gave New York the ball at its 49-yard line to set up a touchdown and a lead it didn’t relinquish.

“We just didn’t execute on it,” Gano said. “That’s what it comes down to. There’s no way that anybody in this league should be able to get that many return yards on us.”

Coach Mike Shanahan made clear the short kick was not a designed play.

Seattle last week blocked field goal and extra point tries by Gano, and two weeks ago he missed two field goals against Dallas.

On the short kick, Shanahan believed the ball hit the ground first. Gano blamed field conditions.

“That field’s a bit chopped up,” Gano said. “I could have hit it better. I think all-around we could have performed better out there.”

Gano did hit four field goals (46, 43, 33 and 23 yards).

“I felt good all season,” Gano said. “Aside from Miami and Dallas, I feel like I’ve hit the ball real well. I just have to stay confident and focused and not change much because when you’re a young guy and start changing too much, that’s when you start screwing up.”

Helu delivers again

After last week’s breakout game in Seattle, running back Roy Helu continued his hot streak.

Quickly becoming the Redskins’ workhorse, the rookie touched the ball on six of the team’s first eight plays, capping the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.

“I thought Helu started out exceptionally,” Shanahan said, “and at the end we were just pretty average.”

Helu finished with 100 yards on 23 carries and caught four passes for 42 yards. That was a reasonable follow-up to his outing against the Seahawks, during which he gained 162 all-purpose yards.

Rocca dinged up

Punter Sav Rocca was injured in the second quarter after the Jets’ Garrett McIntyre ran into him following a 37-yard punt.

Rocca stayed in the game but didn’t have the same zip on his punts, finishing with six kicks for 37.3 yards. That’s well below his season average of 45.4 yards.

After the game, Rocca limped out of the locker room with his left ankle taped.

“Sav’s a beast,” Gano said. “He’s a tough guy. A lot of guys on the sideline were asking if he’d be all right. I told them he played Australian rules football.”

Correspondent Elliott Smith contributed to this report.

• Nathan Fenno can be reached at nfenno@washingtontimes.com.

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