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(Sunday, November 15th)
Final Score: Washington 27, Denver 17
Landover, MD (Sports Network) - Ladell Betts proved to be a serviceable replacement for injured running back Clinton Portis, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 2:44 remaining in the fourth quarter, as the Washington Redskins defeated the suddenly reeling Denver Broncos, 27-17, at FedEx Field.
With Portis sidelined with a concussion, Betts got the start and totaled 114 yards on 26 carries. Jason Campbell completed 17-of-26 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown for the Redskins (3-6), who put the brakes on a four-game slide.
"It's all about the win," Betts said. "We got the win today and they've been hard to come by for us all year. I'm glad to get it in front of our fans and I'm glad that I was able to provide a spark as well."
Not only did the Broncos (6-3) drop their third straight game, the club lost the services of starting quarterback Kyle Orton to a left ankle injury. They also fell into a tie with San Diego for first place in the AFC West, after the Chargers held off Philadelphia, 31-23. The Broncos host the Chargers next Sunday.
Orton was injured after being tackled on a third-down scramble by Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo late in the second quarter. He completed 11-of-18 throws for 193 yards, including a pair of lengthy touchdown passes to Brandon Marshall.
Chris Simms replaced Orton in the second half and struggled mightily, connecting on just 3-of-13 attempts for 13 yards. His lone interception preceded the go-ahead score.
"This certainly wasn't about Chris Simms," said Denver head coach Josh McDaniels. "There were a lot things we failed to do effectively enough to win the game in the second half."
The Redskins tied the game at 17-17 on a 30-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham with 10:40 remaining in the fourth quarter. The boot capped a 13-play, 79-yard march that ate up seven-plus minutes of the clock.
Simms was then picked off in the end zone by cornerback DeAngelo Hall on the ensuing drive. Hall opted to come out of the end zone and lateralled to safety LaRon Landry, who was taken down at his own 40-yard line.
Facing a 3rd-and-3 from the Denver 32, Campbell hit Devin Thomas on a screen pass that turned into a 27-yard gain. Three plays later, Betts powered his way into the end zone from a yard out.
Simms threw four straight incompletions before Suisham's 35-yard field goal squashed any hopes of a comeback.
"It was a hard-fought game," said Redskins head coach Jim Zorn. "The Denver Broncos are a very good team. Our guys made some big plays today and it was the difference. We gave up a couple (big plays), but we didn't give up and kept fighting."
For the first time this season, Denver scored on its opening drive. Knowshon Moreno rumbled 28 yards into Washington territory on first down. Three plays later, Orton flung a ball to Marshall streaking down the left sideline for a 40-yard touchdown.
The Redskins quickly countered with an impressive 12-play, 78-drive that culminated in a two-yard TD pass from Campbell to Todd Yoder.
Denver turned the ball over on its next series, as running back Correll Buckhalter lost the handle when drilled from behind.
After Washington went three-and-out, the Broncos needed just one play to assume a 14-7 lead. Orton dropped back in the pocket and heaved a throw to a wide open Marshall -- there was not a defender in sight -- for a 75-yard TD with 3:35 remaining in the first quarter.
Washington reached into its bag of tricks, tying the game on a 35-yard pass from Hunter Smith to Mike Sellers off a fake punt with 6:30 left in the first half. The team had originally lined up to attempt a field goal before switching formations.
Matt Prater drilled a 24-yard field goal in the waning moments to give Denver a 17-14 lead at the break.
Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth hobbled off the field twice in the fourth quarter with an apparent left leg/ankle injury...Moreno ran for 97 yards on 18 carries...Marshall caught five passes for 134 yards...The Redskins set a season-high for points in a game.
11/15 19:42:56 ET