LANDOVER, Md. — Needing a touchdown against the NFL's top-ranked defense to win the game, Trent Green implored his offensive line to block. Norv Turner, out of receivers, sent a player with a fractured collarbone on the field as a decoy.
Then, improbably, the Washington Redskins (4-9) had their first fourth-quarter winning drive since Turner became coach in 1994. With 1:54 remaining, Green found Leslie Shepherd wide open in the right corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown in Sunday's 24-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers (5-8).
"It's nice to win a game late in the fourth quarter," said Turner, whose 30-46-1 record includes two overtime victories but no fourth-quarter winning rallies before Sunday.
The winning catch was set up by a 17-yard punt return by Brian Mitchell, who also ran back a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown in the first half. After Mitchell got the ball to San Diego's 44 with 2:34 to play, Green had a message for a line that earlier had allowed a franchise-record 54th sack.
"He got in there and really laid the law down," guard Joe Patton said. "He told us he needed time to get the ball completed, and the offensive line stepped up and gave him time."
On the field was James Thrash, who had played decoy the entire second half after suffering a broken collarbone in the second quarter. Turner needed him because Michael Westbrook was unavailable because of a season-ending neck injury and Albert Connell was inactive because of a knee injury, leaving only two healthy receivers.
"He couldn't raise his arm," Turner said. "The coaches kept saying, 'You can't put him in.' I was stubborn and said, 'Put him in and I promise I won't throw him the ball.' "