LaVar Arrington played an integral role on defense for the first time this season, leading the team in tackles as the Redskins trounced the San Francisco 49ers 52-17. Arrington was one of the key players in a defense that limited the 49ers to just 194 total yards.
Arrington has always been known for his jarring hits and highlight tackles. Both were on display at FedExField on Sunday. He finished the game with a team-high nine tackles.
In the first quarter, Arrington tackled 49ers quarterback Alex Smith as he scrambled out of the pocket.
At the close of the first half, Arrington hammered running back Kevan Barlow for a 4-yard loss.
In the third quarter, Arrington tackled wide receiver Rasheed Marshall for a 7-yard loss.
After the game, Arrington was emotional in describing how it felt to be back in the mix on defense.
"I'm overwhelmed in this experience," he said. "I'm happy to be out there, to be part of the victory. I'm happy the coaching staff gave me the opportunity to go out there and help. I just wanted to be a part of it and it feels good."
Said head coach Joe Gibbs: "The coaches felt like he had his best week in preparation and in practice. They had some packages in there that they were going to try to get him in the game. I think he responded well and it looked like he made plays. That was good for us. It was good for him. It was a good day for LaVar."
Entering the game, Arrington said he didn't know how much playing time he would get against the 49ers.
"I just go out when they tell me," he said. "When I go in, I give it my all and put it on the line. Hopefully, I can do the same next week."
Of his teammates, Arrington said: "They were very supportive and encouraging. They wanted to see me out there and they kept pushing me and motivating me. It's like a dream right now. Maybe next game, I'll get back to normal, but right now it feels like a dream."
Of the FedExField crowd, who cheered wildly every time he entered the game: "I love them for that. I attribute 90 percent of my success to them."
-- GIBBS WINS NO. 150
With Sunday's 52-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers, head coach Joe Gibbs won his 150th career game, including playoffs, joining an elite group of only 13 other coaches in NFL history to have achieved the feat.
Gibbs' career record is now 150-77.
Gibbs joins Don Shula, George Halas, Tom Landry , Curly Lambeau, Chuck Noll, Dan Reeves, Chuck Knox, Marty Schottenheimer, Paul Brown, Bud Grant, Bill Parcells, Marv Levy and Steve Owen.
-- KUDOS--AND MORE?--FOR RAY BROWN
Reserve offensive lineman Ray Brown, playing in his 20th NFL season, is in his second stint with the Redskins. In between, he played for the 49ers from 1996-2001. He earned a Pro Bowl berth with the 49ers in 2001.
Last week, head coach Joe Gibbs told reporters that he hoped Brown would stay on with the Redskins in some capacity, perhaps as a coach.
"Ray has one of the best work ethics in the league," Gibbs said. "When you draw up what you want in football, he's the guy. He's very physical, big, super-smart and a good teammate. We want him in the organization when he is through playing. We think the world of him."
Added 49ers defensive tackle Bryant Young, who played with Brown in San Francisco from 1996-2001: "Ray does all the right things to keep his body healthy. My hat's off to him for playing as long as he has."
-- SECONDARY COMES TOGETHER
It looked as if, for the first time this season, assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams would have a full complement of players in the secondary. But rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers sat out the 49ers game to rest an ankle injury.
Still, the Redskins' secondary entered the game at almost full strength. Shawn Springs and Walt Harris started together at cornerback for the first time this season while Sean Taylor and Ryan Clark started at safety.
That didn't spell good news for the 49ers' offense, guided by rookie quarterback Alex Smith, who was making just his second NFL start.
The Redskins' pass defense yielded just 54 total yards in the game. Smith was 8-of-16 for 92 yards and one interception on the day. He was sacked three times by a defense that pressured him early and often.
During the first five weeks of the season. Williams had to juggle his secondary packages due to the number of injuries.
"We coach in crisis mode all the time," Williams said. "We try to get as many guys reps in practice throughout the week, because football is an injury game. During games, [passing game coordinator-safeties coach] Steve Jackson handles those substitution problems for us during the middle of a series. He'll delicately get in my ear and let me know, 'This package is down' or 'This package is up.'
"It's almost like a pit crew at a NASCAR event. We're constantly moving different pieces in our packages to deal with guys who are up or down. Certain guys can do certain things better than others, but from a coaching standpoint, you have to be able to throw 11 guys out there who give you a chance to win."
Williams said he always prefers to start veterans over youngsters.
"Coaches are more comfortable with veterans," Williams said. "That's not to say that Carlos, Ade Jimoh and the other guys haven't done a good job. Coaches are always more comfortable when you have a resume of plays that you've made in the league. As thorough as we are as coaches, we can't cover everything week-in and week-out.
"There will be things that come up in the ballgame that a veteran will recognize and say, 'Yeah, I've been through this before. I've done this before. I know how to adjust to this.'"