Brandon Banks contributes after an up-and-down week
It had been an up-and-down week emotionally for wide receiver Brandon Banks.
Washington released the diminutive rookie last Saturday to make room for running back Ryan Torain on the roster. Then the team re-signed the undrafted free agent to its practice squad early in the week and had him mimic Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson on the scout teams.
On Saturday, Banks was signed to the active roster and Sunday he played a role in Washington's 17-12 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, returning a punt 53 yards in the first quarter to set up a touchdown drive and factoring in the offense later in the half.
"Of course I was a little disappointed when I got released, but when I got the phone call that... I would come back and [I] knew I was going to play, I mean, I felt good," Banks said. "I was just focusing on learning plays and trying to get better every day and came out here and did good."
The Redskins defense forced a three and out on the Eagles' opening drive of the game, and Banks went out on the field for his NFL debut. Banks had to run backwards to catch Sal Rocca's 57-yard punt at the eight-yard line, but he quickly got to the outside and dashed up the sideline.
It appeared Banks might have room to take it all the way, but Rocca did enough to slow him down and Banks was caught from behind. The punt return was the longest for the Redskins since October 28, 2008, a span of 27 games.
"I thought I was housing it," Banks said. "I knew I was going to run out of room sooner or later, I just got to make the kicker miss, but some more pursuit came so I had to tuck the ball with two hands and get down."
Late in the game, the team opted to keep veteran Phillip Buchanon back on a punt return. Banks fumbled three times in the preseason.
The Redskins also looked to get the ball in Banks' hands near the goal line early in the second quarter.
On first and goal from the three-yard line, Banks went in motion and took a handoff around the right end but was tackled for no gain. Tackle Stephon Heyer was also called for holding, negating the play.
On the next play, McNabb hit Banks on a quick pass to the left side but Banks was tackled for a loss of five yards.
"I couldn't wait for that [run] play," Banks said. "I think I still should have scored, should have kept it outside instead of hesitating. I feel good that I'm able to do stuff like that and get an opportunity to do it, so hopefully I continue to get the opportunity."
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