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Torain Provides a Spark For Redskins' Ground Game


Ryan Torain called it "electrifying."

In his first carry in the Redskins' 17-12 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Torain burst up the middle, bulldozed over safety Quintin Mikell and followed a Chris Cooley block into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown run.

The play gave the Redskins an early 7-0 lead.

More importantly, it set a tone.

On this day, the Redskins would play more physical than the Eagles.

"First play in, I was excited, ready to keep it up," Torain said.

Said head coach Mike Shanahan: "You can see the type of power he has when he scored that touchdown on that little trap inside – he ran over a safety. Not a lot of guys can do that."

Torain finished the game with a team-high 70 rushing yards on 18 carries.

In the fourth quarter, with Clinton Portis nursing a groin injury, the Redskins ran Torain on seven of eight plays as the offense tried to wind down the clock.

He picked up 32 yards on the drive, including a 10-yard run for a first down that kept the clock moving in the Redskins' favor.

You've heard of the "Riggo Drill."

This was the "Ryan Drill."

"It was a huge accomplishment," Torain said of his performance against the Eagles. "I was excited to be out there, helping the team win. Hard work paid off. I'm enjoying it."

With Portis's status uncertain for this week's game against the Green Bay Packers, Torain could be in line to make his first Redskins start.

Not bad for a guy who was on the Redskins' practice squad just two weeks ago.

Torain joined the Redskins last April. Drafted by the Denver Broncos and Shanahan in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, he played in two games as a rookie before suffering a knee ligament injury.


He was released by the Broncos -- and new head coach Josh McDaniels -- last year after an injury-plagued preseason.

A year off from football seems to have given him fresh legs.

The 6-1, 218-pounder is regarded as a classic downhill runner.

Upon reuniting with Shanahan in Washington, Torain led the Redskins in preseason rushing with 28 carries for 94 yards.

It wasn't enough to earn a roster spot, though. He signed on with the team's practice squad instead.

When the Redskins released veteran Larry Johnson after Week 2, the door was open for Torain to rejoin the roster.

In his Redskins debut on Sept. 26 in St. Louis, he ran for 36 yards on his first carry. He finished the game with seven carries for 46 yards.

Through two games, Torain has 25 carries for 116 yards, a 4.6 yards-per-carry average.

"Ryan has been a guy who has had a lot of injuries throughout his career," Shanahan said. "He has overcome a lot of those injuries and he has worked extremely hard to give himself the opportunity to prove himself in the NFL.

"That's why I was happy for him with the way he played. He has come in and made some big runs. He's in excellent football shape and I'm looking for him to have a good NFL career.

Shanahan added: "And I can guarantee that he will not be put on the practice squad the rest of the season."

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