Davis powers offense

The Redskins are used to running back Stephen Davis. That doesn't mean they take him for granted. Not when he controls the game like he did in the 27-14 win over Seattle on Sunday. Davis rushed for 142 yards on 32 carries, grinding out yards against one of the NFL's best run defenses.

Davis' running style enabled Washington to ram the ball down Seattle's throats, as Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said afterward.

It helped that Seattle focused on taking away the run, playing both safeties deep, removing them from run responsibility--unlike most Redskins' opponents. But the Seahawks figured their interior would take care of Washington's line. They were wrong. The Redskins helped by using misdirection plays, slowing Seattle's rush and keeping the linebackers guessing.

But Davis gets credit, too.

Not only can Davis power inside, he can bounce outside as well. The Redskins also take advantage of one of his better traits: spotting the hole.

''He has what I call one-step acceleration,'' Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer said. ''He has the ability to take one step and be at full speed and play with tremendous power.''

On certain plays, Davis is asked to watch the ''dot'' or defensive player. Where that player is blocked determines where Davis should run. For instance, on one second and eight, the dot was defensive tackle Chad Eaton. Center Cory Raymer allowed Eaton to determine where he wanted to penetrate. Once Eaton made his move, Raymer blocked him that way. And Davis cut back the other way for a seven-yard gain.

''Stephen has the patience to let the hole develop,'' Redskins tackle Ben Coleman said. ''Some guys have outstanding speed and they get there before the hole develops. But he has the ability to explode when the hole presents itself and he explodes with power. He understands the dynamics of the block and that's why he's one of the best right now.''

The more the coaches are around Davis, the more they use his strengths.

''They're giving Stephen free reign,'' Raymer said. ''At first they were like, 'This is where the hole is supposed to be.' Now, after they've seen him, it's like, 'We're going to give you the ball and you go whereever the hell you want to.' ''

When a runner pounds away at a defense, it damages them mentally, too. Especially one with a strong reputation.

It wasn't only Davis. Backup Ki-Jana Carter gained 57 yards on 10 carries. That's why Washington controlled the ball for 39 minutes, 18 seconds.

''The inability to stop the run is the most disabling thing to any team,'' Schottenheimer said. ''When you take the ball and pound away, guys start looking at one another and it's very disruptive. It puts you in a position where you're dictating the pace of the game.''


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