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Another Eventful Day For Banks


There's Brandon Banks, all over the field again.

He opened Sunday's game vs. Minnesota in Wildcat formation.

Later he lined up outside as a wide receiver.

And of course he was returning punts and kickoffs – call that his day job.

The 5-7, 150-pound rookie almost turned in the play of the day.

His 77-yard punt return for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter could have been a game-winner – except that linebacker Perry Riley was flagged for an illegal block in the back, nullifying the score.

The Vikings ended up holding on for a 17-13 win over the Redskins at FedExField.

Banks's nullified touchdown was the second time in the last four games that Banks has had a score called back.

"I think I have the worst luck," Banks said.

He quickly added: "Perry didn't intend to block him in the back. He was just out there working hard like I was. We just have to get it next time."

Banks finished the game with four kickoff returns for a 30.8-yard average, including a 65-yarder to set up a second-half field goal.

He also logged five punt returns for a 4.0-yard average, including a 14-yarder.

"What a great effort from Brandon," head coach Mike Shanahan said. "He has got that positive mindset, a lot of energy and he believes in himself. People are starting to believe in him more and more every time he touches the ball."

Special teams coach Danny Smith said Banks is starting to set up his returns better.

"Those are the things we are working on him with," he said. "He has got a lot to learn. I think he'll get better and be more consistent. He doesn't amaze me anymore. He's a good worker and a good kid."

Shanahan also broke out the Wildcat formation for the first time, with Banks lining up at quarterback and Donovan McNabb outside at wide receiver.

The Redskins had practiced the formation during training camp, but had not used it in a game until this week.

Given Banks' speed, he seemed a perfect candidate for the job.

On the Redskins' opening possession, Shanahan used the Wildcat formation twice.

The first time Banks picked up three yards running around left end.

One play later, the Redskins lined up in the formation again. This time Banks ran up the middle for another 3-yard gain.

Banks was admittedly ecstatic to run the Wildcat.

"I love it," he said. "I'd rather they just hand me the ball instead of going out and running a route and catching the ball."

Added Shanahan: "It's something that we work on and that we have been working on a little bit with our football team. It's just a little bit of our wrinkle in our game."

Clearly Shanahan didn't want to reveal too much about his use of the formation.

Banks made his feelings known, though.

"Hopefully you see more of it," he said.

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