It had been quite a while since Anthony Armstrong last did the Dougie. So it was a sight for sore eyes on Sunday as the receiver danced away the bad memories of the Redskins’ six-game losing streak after catching a 50-yard touchdown pass to provide the difference in a 23-17 win over the Seahawks.
It’s no secret that Armstrong has been in Mike Shanahan’s doghouse this season. Ironic then that the Redskins head coach had him on the field for a third-and-19 down by three in the fourth quarter.
But there he was running down the sideline with Brandon Browner right next to him. Armstrong has had trouble getting open all season, and this play was no different except that Rex Grossman threw him the ball.
“I knew coming out the huddle,” Armstrong said. “I was like ‘[Rex] is going to throw it my way.’”
A gutsy throw from the never-say-die Grossman was not surprising. The shocker was Armstrong outmuscling Browner for the ball. Perhaps not the way the Shanahans drew it up, but a great football play where playcalling went out the window and instincts took over.
“It feels great first and foremost just to get a win and then to actually go out there and make a play that is directly linked to it is huge,” said Armstrong, who had caught five passes coming into the game.
So in what has been a tumultuous year for both himself and his team, Armstrong’s catch was the difference in ending a miserable stretch of football.
And there were times against Seattle where the misery looked as if it would continue. Before Armstrong and Roy Helu scored fourth quarter touchdowns, the Redskins trailed 17-7. Even in victory, Washington played another mistake-riddled game in which Seattle blocked a pair of kicks and helped extend the Redskins’ streak of consecutive games with a turnover to 25.
But someway, somehow Washington found a way to get back in the win column for the first time since early October. Armstrong’s catch was key, but so was the performance from Helu, who was making his second NFL start.
The rookie running back from Nebraska had the first 100-yard rushing game of his career and ripped off a scintillating 28-yard touchdown run to cut Seattle’s lead to 17-14 in the final quarter. The Seahawks hadn’t given up a rushing touchdown in over 29 quarters until Helu’s, and it more than likely gave him the inside track to the starting job for the rest of the year.
“[He] really took advantage of an opportunity,” said Mike Shanahan. “He ran extremely hard, broke some tackles, made the big play that you’re always looking for.”
Those big plays haven’t come too often for the Redskins. Helu’s touchdown was his longest run this year while Armstrong’s catch was the team’s longest pass of the year. Timely plays like that haven’t been made often this season, but against Seattle the Redskins pressed all the right buttons at all the right moments and the result was a hard-fought victory.
“After a losing streak like this, we stepped up and made the plays we needed to make,” Grossman said.
And for the first time in a long time, the Redskins can go home happy because of them.