Replay helps Redskins top Chargers 30-24 in OT

With the game hinging on a replay review, Washington Redskins

linebacker Ryan Kerrigan could only think the worst.

”Honestly, I was kind of bummed,” Kerrigan said. ”I’m sitting

here, I’m like, `How did we let this lead go away?”’

Referee Jerome Boger gave Kerrigan and the Redskins a reprieve.

He looked under the hood and decided that the ball didn’t touch the

pylon when Danny Woodhead lunged for the goal line. The ball was

placed inside the 1-yard line with 21 seconds to go, the Redskins

leading the San Diego Chargers by three.

Then Kerrigan and his teammates stood their ground. The Chargers

tried three times and couldn’t get the winning touchdown. They

settled for a field goal that sent the game to overtime, and the

Redskins won Sunday’s game in the extra period, 30-24, on Darrel

Young’s 4-yard run.

”First-and-1 on the goal line? Most cases that’s a touchdown,”

linebacker Brian Orakpo said. ”Our defense, everybody looked in

each other’s eyes. I could remember: `Do not cross this line, this

goal line.’ On the field, London Fletcher and everybody reiterating

it to each other, like: `They do not cross this line right

here.”’

The replay reversal and the goal-line stand make a difference,

at least for a few more days, between relevance and

season-out-to-pasture for the Redskins (3-5), who, despite their

record, remain only 1 1/2 games off the pace in the bottom-heavy

NFC East.

”Players want to have something they can believe in,” said

Robert Griffin III, who threw for 291 yards, ”and the way our

division is set up right now, we have something to believe

in.”

The AFC West, meanwhile, is top-heavy, and the third-place

Chargers (4-4) are hard-pressed to keep pace. They rallied from 10

points down late in regulation against the Redskins, but clearly

left a victory out on the field.

”If we have the ball on the half-yard line, three plays, it’s

our job to score,” San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers said. ”And

we didn’t.”

Here’s a look at the five reasons for the Redskins’ win:

REPLAY MATTERS: Rivers made the case that Woodhead’s score

should have counted, if only because it wasn’t easy to find a good

replay angle. This truly was a game decided by inches.

”The ref on the field … says he sees it touch the pylon,”

Rivers said. ”I know you couldn’t tell that from the video. …

But I thought he got in. Especially when it was called on the

field, I thought it was going to be a hard one to overturn.”

BUT STILL … : Even then, the Chargers needed only one more

yard to win, and they couldn’t get it. Woodhead went nowhere on

first-and-goal. A fade route for Antonio Gates on second down

didn’t come close, and neither did a third-down rollout throw to

Keenan Allen.

”It was all there for us to win,” San Diego coach Mike McCoy

said. ”They out-executed us for three plays, and that’s what it

comes down to.”

RG3 TAKES FLIGHT: Griffin has been a yo-yo this year. On Sunday,

he was closer to his electrifying 2012 form, using the read option

to set up open passes downfield and even running the triple option

a few times. He also converted a third-and-9 with a 10-yard ramble

that ended when he was flung to the turf by Thomas Keiser, keeping

alive a drive that ended in a touchdown.

”A lot of people criticize me for some of that stuff all of the

time,” Griffin said. ”And, you know, I could’ve went out of

bounds and we’d have been short of the first down. I saw an

opportunity to fly, so I popped out my wings and tried to

fly.”

WHO’S THAT FULLBACK? Young had carried the ball only twice all

season and had scored only three touchdowns in his three-plus years

in the NFL. On Sunday, he was the goal-line bruiser, scoring on a

pair of 1-yard runs in regulation before storming his way into the

end zone 6:01 into overtime. Now defenses have another Redskins

running threat to worry about.

”They’ll definitely be more aware of DY – the `three-touchdown

fullback,”’ Griffin said with a smile.

ROLE REVERSAL: The Redskins’ passing game was tepid a week ago,

while the Chargers had become so efficient that Rivers led the NFL

in completion percentage. Therefore, it was quite a change for

Washington to dominate time of possession (40:03 to 25:58) and

third-conversions (71 percent to 33 percent), again reverting to

its successful formula from 2012.

”We just decided we were going to do some things we did a

little bit more last year,” Shanahan said.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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