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Garçon's Career Day: No Target Too Tough


Pierre Garçon clenched his fists, tensing forearms that bulge and taper like turkey legs. He punched the sod at FedExField, shaking his head and rising off his back.

Garçon set a new career high with 172 yards receiving on seven catches Sunday, but his first target was exasperating.

On the first play of Washington's first offensive drive against the Chargers, Robert Griffin III pumped a pass barely behind the receiver, who initiated a controlled backwards fall and pawed a futile swipe at the ball.

Garçon believed he should have made the catch.

"It's part of the game," he said. "You always want to make the tough plays. That's what you pride yourself (on) as an athlete, as a player."

Hours later, with the Redskins driving down the field in the winning drive of a 30-24 overtime game, Garçon proved he could make the tough play.

On the seventh play of overtime, facing 1st and 20 after an offensive holding penalty nullified an Alfred Morris run, Griffin III drilled a pass up the middle to a streaking Garçon, who split two defenders and secured the catch while San Diego linebacker Andrew Gachkar drilled him.

Gachkar was called for hitting a defenseless receiver, giving Washington an automatic first down. Three plays later, Darrel Young scored the touchdown that ended overtime.

On another play in the fourth quarter, Garçon made a 16-yard catch by tracking a ball behind him, initiating a controlled backwards fall and cradling the ball with his left hand, proving his first target could have been converted.

"Pierre, stepping up big for us, made some great catches – made the catches that were there and made some catches that not many people can make," Griffin III said after the game.

"It was great to see that, great to see that fire."

Garçon recorded the 10th 100-yard receiving game of his career. A week earlier at Denver, when the Redskins recorded their fifth loss, he tallied a season-low 46 yards receiving and let his angst boil over in postgame interviews.

"If you suck at passing, you suck at passing," he said at the time. "We've just got to figure it out."

Garçon figured it out Sunday, forcing catches with defenders draped over him, snagging balls with one hand and holding onto the ball through contact.

"He holds himself to a high standard," running back Alfred Morris said. "Pierre is very nice off the field, but on the field he's a beast… I never question his effort or question the type of player he is.

"I'm not surprised by his effort today."

Garçon has posted four games with at least 100 receiving yards for Washington. After missing seven games with a foot injury last season, a healthy Garcon has started every contest for the Redskins in 2013.

Through eight games, he's already surpassed last season's totals for receptions and yards receiving.

Head coach Mike Shanahan said he's gotten used to Garcon's one-handed catches in practice. The coach believes the receiver is just as valuable in the run game.

Shanahan called Garçon, "the best blocker in the National Football League."

"The thing that he does that people don't see is how he competes when he doesn't get the ball," Shanahan said.

"A lot of people go out there and catch balls and everybody can see, but when you get the yards we get in the running game, a lot of people don't see how he's blocking these defensive backs and safeties… You can see I'm very high on him, just by the complete game that he does play."




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