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Monday, November 21, 2011
Mat McBriar 'tackle' wound up being big play

By Calvin Watkins

LANDOVER, Md. -- On Friday, punter Mat McBriar joked with some reporters about having to tackle someone on a punt return. McBriar didn't think it would happen.

Well it did Sunday when McBriar, playing with a bad left foot, had to move toward his left and push Brandon Banks out of bounds after a 55-yard return in the third quarter.

Banks' return set the Redskins up at the Cowboys 34 and the drive stalled when kicker Graham Gano's 49-yard field goal was wide right, which could have given the Redskins a 10-point lead. Instead, the lead remained seven.

"Downfield, I'm OK," McBriar said. "It's just the side-to-side [stuff]. Not really good especially going to the left."

When McBriar was told he made one of the biggest plays of the game, he had a bewildered look.

"Biggest play of the game?" he said. "I don't know about that."

It was a rough day for the talented punter, who shanked a 23-yarder, the shortest of the season, which put the Redskins in position to get their first score of the game.

After that, McBriar was on target, booming punts of 51, 60 and 30 yards. His 60-yarder was returned 55 yards by Banks. McBriar shouldn't have kicked it to him, but his 30-yarder landed at the Redskins 11 and was downed by deep snapper LP Ladouceur.

"I was just trying to get it out of bounds," McBriar said of his 23-yarder. "I ended up hitting it [short]."

But everything was good for McBriar. He smiled like a big brother when kicker Dan Bailey was talking to reporters about his game-winning field goal in overtime.

"The rookie is doing great," McBriar said. "For a young guy, he's capable of kicking [well]. He's had to deal with a lot. Six field goals last time. He's a heck of a rookie."