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Young Continues Growth As A Playmaker


Down 24-0 last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington Redskins needed a quick spark on offense to get them back in the game.

They found it in fullback Darrel Young, an unsuspecting catalyst for the unit all season.

With his 62-yard touchdown catch-and-run in the fourth quarter of the Week 11 contest, he is now tied for second on the team in touchdowns, with four.

Unlike his three-touchdown performance against the San Diego Chargers in Week 9 where he rumbled his way into the end zone on three separate occasions, none longer than four yards, the converted fullback showed off a combination of speed and high football acumen when he noticed the Eagles' coverage disintegrated on a broken 1st-and-10 play.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III took one step forward in the pocket before quickly stepping back out, rolled to his left and found Young perfectly positioned between safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Trent Cole.

Griffin III threw the ball on a rope and Young, who sliced between the two before they collided into one another, was off to the races.

"I learned that from [former Eagles running back Brian] Westbrook and watching him and [Donovan] McNabb through the years," Young explained after the game. "[Griffin III] looked at me and threw me the ball. You practice those things in practice, off-schedule plays.

"I didn't know it was going to happen. I [saw] the ball and I was like 'Oh, he threw it. OK, I have a chance,' and I saw the safety out of my peripheral and I said 'I'm going to cut in.'

"They missed the tackle and I saw green grass, and I was like, 'I hope no one is going to catch me now.'"

Not only was the reception a career-long, it the longest by a Redskins running back since Clinton Portis hauled in a 74-yard touchdown pass vs. the Houston Texans in 2006.

It was also more receiving yardage for Young than in his previous 21 regular season games combined.

Before Young's first receiving touchdown of the season, the Redskins longest passing play of the day was a 21-yard connection between the sophomore quarterback and wide receiver Pierre Garçon.

Failing to feed off of the running game's success, Young said the aerial attack needs to counterbalance the exploits of running backs Alfred Morris and Roy Helu Jr.

When the offense has equilibrium, it keeps defenses on their heels.

"We just didn't play football how we play football," Young explained. "We just let them outplay us. [Offensive coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] was calling great plays, but you can't do anything when you beat yourselves.

"The run game was there; we just have to be better in the passing game and just make little plays. That's what we did on that last drive in the fourth quarter. We made the little plays."

Now in last place in the NFC East with six games to go to include matchups against two of the most stout defenses in the league (San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs) and a red-hot New York Giants squad in the next three weeks, the Redskins have a steep hill to climb if they want to string off another memorable end to the season.

Young believes that the adversity of a 3-7 start isn't going to deter them from still reaching their goal.

But success starts with playing a complete football game, something that has eluded the Redskins all season long.

"This team fights regardless of what adversity we go through. Go up to bat and be ready to swing every time. That's just the scenario running backs coach [Bobby Turner] puts us in every time and says be ready for anything regardless of what play they call.

"If they call outside-zone, we should be able to execute outside-zone with 11 guys lined up. As bad as it sounds we still have to go out there and play and just don't wait until the fourth quarter with 15 minutes left in the game.

"We've got to play 60 minutes."




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