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WDT: Sellers a big hit in Washington


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Sellers a big hit in Washington

By Tim Brennan


LANDOVER -- It's easy to lose a lot of things in the mix of a 52-17 shellacking that Washington put on the lowly San Francisco 49ers Sunday. There are few dark spots and lots of highlights. One of the big things that should not be overlooked is the play of back-up H-back Mike Sellers.

He caught a pair of touchdown passes, but that was just the begin of his contributions on Sunday. Sellers play is not limited to the offensive side of the ball, he also is a force on special teams, with one simple job -- go hit someone as hard as you can.

"I have a blast (hitting people)," Sellers said. "I take pride in it, that got me into this league and I'm just happy to be out there."

After a Washington score, the kickoff team will meet at the sideline with one of the coaches to find out which way the ball will be kicked. While that meeting is going on, Sellers heads toward the Redskins' 30-yard line and gets in the right mental state for what is about to happen. See, he doesn't need to be in that meeting, because he will simply line up next to kicker Nick Novak and when the ball is kicked he runs as hard as he can down the field, busting into the wedge in front of the ball carrier and many times end up being the one to make the tackle.

Sellers made three special teams tackles on Sunday and leads the team with a dozen this season. The hit first, ask questions later mentality that has given him a job on special teams seems to be carrying over to offense, where he primarily lines up in the back field at a fullback position.

On his second touchdown catch Sunday, a skinny post pattern where he lined up as a tight end, Sellers caught the ball at the 5-yard line and lowered his shoulder as he crossed the goal line, putting a punishing lick on San Francisco safety Tony Parrish.

The score was Sellers' fourth of the season on five total receptions. He now has 14 scores in just over four seasons of NFL service.

"When I signed back this year (with Washington), they told me I was going to have a bigger part in this offense," Sellers said. "All training camp I didn't see it, and the first part of the season I didn't really see it, but after a while it started coming my way. Now it's working out for me."

Take that ball away. With a minus-8 turnover ratio entering Sunday's game, the defense was looking to turn that number around. They made a big improvement by coming up with an interception and a fumble recovery while the offense did not commit a single turnover. The number is down to minus-6 entering this week's game at the New York Giants.

"The turnover thing is we haven't been getting any," Washington coach Job Gibbs said. "Today was kind of a breakthrough from that standpoint. You hope you don't use them all up in one game. Certainly it helps -- you shorten the field, you can score points."

Washington scored off both turnovers, on the first play from scrimmage following the turnover.

"That's definitely the reward (of causing turnovers)," said linebacker Marcus Washington, who forced San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith to fumble. "When the offense is playing well, like they're playing, we want to get the ball back to them as much as possible."

Though the Giants enter this Sunday's game with a plus-8 ratio (tied for second in the NFL), they are right in the middle of the pack in giveaways, with 10.

Just short

Had the San Francisco offense been able to do even a little against the Redskins defense early, Clinton Portis would likely be listed with a handful of the NFL's greatest running backs this week. Entering Sunday's game Portis, playing in his 50th NFL game, needed 143 yards to become just the fifth back in history to rush for 5,000 yards in his first 50 games.

Portis rushed for 101 yards, leaving the game midway through the third quarter when the game was out of hand. The four backs that have achieved the accomplishment are Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Jim Brown and Terrell Davis.

The Redskins back did get into the end zone three times -- his first three scores of the season.

"It was just good to get into that, to get back on track, to get into the swing and take ourselves to 4-2," Portis said.

Thursday Portis said the problem with the running game this season has been goal line situations. Sunday the Redskins found themselves inside the San Francisco 5-yard line five times on Sunday, scoring touchdowns on all five.

Making history

Sunday's win was the 150th in the coaching career of Joe Gibbs. Gibbs is the 14th coach in history to reach the mark joining such greats as Don Shula, George Halas and Tom Landry. Along with Gibbs, the only other active members of the list are Marty Schottenheimer (185) and Bill Parcells (167).

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