NFL: Redskins end skid with 27-17 win over Broncos
AP Sports Writer
LANDOVER, Md. — Energized by one of the most bizarre fake field goal sequences of the year, the Washington Redskins finally broke the 17-point barrier and ended a four-game losing streak.
Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos' skid is up to three, their 6-0 start and huge AFC West lead a fading memory after Washington's 27-17 win Sunday.
Ladell Betts scored on a 1-yard run with 2:44 to play, and the Redskins defense shut down the Broncos after starter Kyle Orton left the game at halftime with an injured left ankle. The unexpected offense came when holder Hunter Smith threw a 35-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
With Clinton Portis sidelined after suffering a concussion in last week's loss at Atlanta, Betts made his first start since 2006 and ran for 114 yards on 26 carries, better numbers than Portis had in any game this season.
Jason Campbell completed 17 of 26 passes for 193 yards for the Redskins (3-6), who had scored 17 points or fewer in their first eight games. In fact, the 27-point outburst was their greatest since Week 2 of last season.
Three weeks ago, the Broncos (6-3) had a 3½ game lead over the San Diego Chargers, but the loss gave the Chargers a chance to tie Denver for the division lead when they hosted Philadelphia later Sunday. The Broncos also had to play for the first time this season without Orton, who limped to the locker room after hurting his ankle during a third-down scramble on his team's final offensive play of the first half.
Orton was 11 for 18 for 193 yards and two touchdown passes — 40 and 75 yards to Brandon Marshall — when he left the game. Simms, who threw only two passes all last season with Tennessee, went 3 for 13 for 13 yards and an interception in the second half. Denver had only 36 yards of total offense after halftime.
The touchdown pass by Smith, the Redskins' punter? That was something else.
With the Redskins trailing 14-7 and facing fourth-and-20 at the 35, Washington lined up for a field goal. Tight end Todd Yoder then split out as a receiver, signifying a fake, but the Redskins called timeout before the play was run.
Then, even though the Broncos were on notice of possible shenanigans — and even though there were 20 yards to go for a first down — the Redskins still ran the fake. Yoder split out and went in motion. Smith took a direct snap, rolled right and lobbed the ball deep — and back across the field — to fullback Mike Sellers for a 35-yard touchdown that tied the score at 14 and earned perhaps the biggest ovation the home team has received this season.
Smith now has two big plays on fakes this year. He ran for an 8-yard score against the New York Giants in the opener.
The Broncos kicked a field goal late in the half to take a 17-14 lead, but they could get nothing going with Simms. The Redskins' offense, riding the momentum of the successful trick play in the first half, drove to Denver's 28 in the third quarter but were stopped on a fourth-and-1 run.
The next time down, however, the Redskins kicked the field goal — fourth-and-7 at the 12 was too risky to go for it — and Shaun Suisham's 30-yarder tied the game at 17 with 10:40 remaining.
The Broncos then tried for the home run to Marshall again — and he was open for a second or two — but Simms' pass arrived too late and was picked off in the end zone by DeAngelo Hall. Hall flipped the ball to LaRon Landry during the return, and the Redskins took possession at their own 40 and drove 60 yards for the go-ahead touchdown by Betts.