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News & Notes: Speedy Return For Banks

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Brandon Banks is back.

Sooner than expected, too.

Banks returned kickoffs and punts in Monday night's game, just two weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his knee.

He had six kickoff returns for a 26.3-yard average and one punt return for a 6 yards.

It was thought that Banks would be sidelined 2-3 weeks.

Instead, Banks did not miss a game.

He rehabbed during the Redskins' bye week and was able to rejoin the team at practice – albeit on a limited basis – last Friday.

Head coach Mike Shanahan had called him a game time decision.

Banks showed enough progress in his knee to play in the game, Shanahan said.

Banks has provided a spark for the Redskins' return units this season.

Heading into Monday night's game vs. Philadelphia, Banks was among the league leaders with 16 kickoff returns for a 27.3-yard average and one touchdown, a 96-yarder against the Lions.

He also entered Monday's game with 17 punt returns for a 13.8-yard average, with a long of 53 yards against the Eagles in Week 4.

Shanahan suggested that Banks' 5-7, 150-pound frame helped him return sooner than expected.

"There's not as much weight on that knee," Shanahan said last week.


-- ARMSTRONG MOTIVATED vs. SAMUEL

It was Anthony Armstrong's breakthrough moment.

In the second quarter of the Redskins' Week 4 game at Philadelphia, Armstrong ran deep against Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel.

He got a couple steps on the Pro Bowler and pulled in Donovan McNabb's pass for a 57-yard gain. If he had been able to maintain his balance, the play would have been a sure highlight-reel touchdown.

Coupled with his 48-yard touchdown reception a week later vs. Green Bay, Armstrong catapulted himself into the Redskins' starting lineup.

Now Armstrong, who entered Monday night's game third on the offense with 17 catches for 368 yards, matches up against Samuel and the Eagles' secondary again this Monday night at FedExField.

"He is good at what he does – he reads the quarterback and makes plays on the ball," Armstrong said of Samuel, a two-time Pro Bowler with five interceptions this season. "There are plays to be made on him and we got one against him last time.

"We'll be able to take advantage of some of the things he does, we just have to make sure we're sound."


-- WILLIAMS EARNS FIRST NFL START

Running back Keiland Williams started Monday night's game in place of Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain.

Portis was deactivated with a groin injury and Torain re-injured his hamstring during pre-game warm-ups.

Williams was among the few bright spots in the game for the Redskins.

He posted 16 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns and caught four passes for 50 yards and one touchdown.

"Keiland for the first time really got some extended playing time and he did a fine job when he was in there," Mike Shanahan said.

Backup fullback Darrel Young also saw action at running back and had a 16-yard run and caught a 3-yard touchdown pass.


-- LANDRY vs. JACKSON?

LaRon Landry and DeSean Jackson exchanged words at pre-game and a minor tussle ensued at FedExField.

Players from both teams converged at about the 20-yard line near the Eagles' tunnel for some pushing and shoving.

The tussle seemed to elevate the energy inside the stadium.

Until the first play of the game, that is.

Jackson ran a deep route and got a step past Landry in coverage. He pulled in Michael Vick's pass as Landry fell down and was free to run in the end zone for an 88-yard touchdown grab.

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