Forcing turnovers has been a struggle for the Redskins' defense all season long--and it was especially evident in the fact that no cornerback had recorded an interception through the first 10 games of the regular season.
That issue was put to rest on Sunday afternoon when Carlos Rogers, Shawn Springs and Walt Harris each picked off a pass by San Diego Chargers' quarterback Drew Brees.
All three of the interceptions came in the fourth quarter.
For Rogers, it was the Auburn rookie's first NFL interception. He nearly recorded it earlier in the game, but the ball popped out.
"I caught it, but when I hit the ground on my backside, the ball popped out," he said.
Given the Redskins' disappointing 23-17 overtime loss, Rogers, Springs and Harris were not in any mood to speak about any personal accomplishments after the game.
Springs' interception came with just over one minute left in the game and his return put the ball on the Chargers' 31-yard line with the game tied at 17-17.
But the Redskins' offense could not convert and John Hall's 53-yard field goal attempt was short.
Harris's interception came on regulation's final play. Brees heaved a desperation pass into the end zone, and Harris caught the ball after it had been tipped into the air.
Said Rogers: "You never know what play is going to count the most, so we have to treat every play like it's the most important play of the game. When we get to crunch time, we just have to step up and make plays."
-- SALAVE'A RE-INJURES FOOT
The Redskins' defensive line had received some good news when tackle Cornelius Griffin played for the first time in three weeks on Sunday. But fellow lineman Joe Salave'a re-aggravated his foot injury in the second quarter and did not return.
Salave'a was replaced by Cedric Killings most of the game.
Salave'a's status will be updated on Monday, according to team officials. He has been playing most of the regular season with a painful plantar fascitis injury. Team officials had expected he would sit out a game at some point during the regular season, but through Week 12 he had not missed a game.
Salave'a typically sits out one or two practices each week heading into a game.
"He gets rested during the start of the week, gets back out there, and does what we ask him to do," assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. "He's a consummate and tough professional in that way."
-- BROWN, FARRIS GET IN THE GAME
Wide receivers Antonio Brown and Jimmy Farris saw significant action--particularly on special teams--in Sunday's 23-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers. Both players were signed last week due to injuries at the wide receiver position.
Brown returned four kickoffs for a 14.8-yard average. He also logged a three-yard punt return and four fair catches.
Before the game, Brown was confident that he would be able to pick up the special teams schemes on returns.
"It has a lot to do with the system and the mentality of Coach [Danny] Smith," he said. "Basically it is just hit it and go. No matter where you have to go, make a decision and go. So it's not a problem for me to do that. That is what I was trained to do--hit it and go."
Farris was also eager to contribute immediately. He caught one pass for 18 yards in the first quarter.
"This is not a situation that's new to me," he said. "I'm just looking forward to coming in at a good time like this, in the stretch run, when we really need to buckle down and win some games."
However, Farris sustained a leg injury on a special teams play in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game. His status will be updated by team officials on Monday.
-- BRUNELL: OFFENSE NOT LIMITED
Despite the absence of wide receivers David Patten and James Thrash, quarterback Mark Brunell has emphasized that the Redskins' passing game would not be limited. That statement turned out to be true, as Brunell was 17-of-27 for 194 yards and a 22-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss.
"We'd like to have to have David and James in there, but we're not going to abandon packages or stay away from certain packages and personnel groups," Brunell said. "You hate to lose guys to injury, but every team has to go through this and every team has to adjust."
Regarding Brown and Farris, Brunell added: "They have a huge responsibility and tough shoes to fill. If we didn't have the confidence in them, they wouldn't be here."
-- WILLIAMS ON CLEMONS
Linebacker Chris Clemons continues to make an impact in pass-rushing situations. Coming in mostly on third downs, Clemons almost recorded a sack in the second quarter, but Chargers' quarterback Drew Brees was able to get the ball away just in time. The pass fell incomplete.
Clemons has two sacks so far this season, after recording three sacks last year. As one of the fastest defenders, Clemons uses his speed to burst past larger offensive linemen and get into the backfield.
Said Williams: "Chris has come a long way in the short amount of time that we have had a chance to work with him. I thought he had an outstanding offseason. He had a good training camp and a good preseason. He has the opportunity to take the next step and get more playing time on first and second down."
-- TAYLOR AT WR AGAIN
Sean Taylor lined up as a slot wide receiver for one play in the second quarter against San Diego. He was used primarily as a blocker, pushing Chargers' linebacker Steve Foley out of the way on a run to the right.
It was the first time that Taylor had lined up at wide receiver since Week 2. In the Redskins' regular-season opener, Taylor was used at wide receiver on several goal-line situations.
Coaches have been cautious about using Taylor on offense because they want him focused in on defense. The secondary had a series of injuries earlier in the year and coaches did not want to risk an injury to Taylor on offense.