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Change Afoot In Redskins' Run Game?


For a half, the Redskins' ground game was back.

Down 14-0 to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome, the Redskins stayed patient.

There was Clinton Portis breaking loose for a 27-yard run up the middle.

There was Ryan Torain – just signed from the practice squad – bursting through for a 36-yard run.

Combined with Donovan McNabb's 25 rushing yards, the Redskins posted 115 yards on 12 carries in the first half.

In the second half, the Redskins ran the ball five times and posted just one rushing yard in the final 30 minutes of the game.

And the Rams pulled away for a 30-16 win over the Redskins.

"We were pretty effective in the first half running the football," head coach Mike Shanahan said. "In the first drive of the second half, we had three runs and one pass and weren't able to get into the end zone. We had to settle for a field goal.

"But I think we had a couple runs in the next series. Then we were three-and-out. Then we were first-and-20, and we were behind by eight points, so we threw the ball a little bit more. We didn't run the ball much as much in the second half as we would've liked."

Portis finished the game with seven carries for 44 yards and Torain posted seven carries for 45 yards.

In the second half, Portis was on the sidelines as Torain and rookie Keiland Williams saw action in the backfield. (Williams had two catches for 14 yards, both coming on the Redskins' final drive.)

On Portis's 27-yard run, he appeared to awkwardly fall down to avoid contact with a Rams player.

Turned out that his wrist injury was bothering him and he was concerned that he did not have the ball well secured.

"He was afraid that he was going to have contact on that side," Shanahan said.

Shanahan indicated that was one reason why Portis had limited carries in the second half.

Moving forward, Shanahan said that Torain would see some action as a first- and second-down running back and Portis would serve as a third-down back.

"We'll change it up week by week," he said. "It depends on what our game plan is. We do have a plan each week relative to how many carries we'd like each running back to have.

"Sometimes one guy will be in a passing situation and one guy will be in a passing situation. Sometimes we'll try to keep the carries even, other times we'll go in a different direction.

"This game we were hoping to keep both guys fresh, and I thought we did that."

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