Prior to finding Hankerson, Redskins starting quarterback
“It was a jump ball and I was pretty much the last read,” Hankerson explained at his locker after the game. “Kirk did a good job and read the coverage, and when all the safeties bit, he threw it deep.”
Even though his view was obscured in the tenths of a second before the catch, Hankerson relied on drills from practice to maintain his focus on the ball.
“Being a receiver, you work on that with distraction drills,” he explained. “Just keep your eye on the ball, and if they miss it, it will come right to you.
“That’s basically what happened: it went right through their hands and fell right to me.”
Hankerson caught the ball off balance and fell down, untouched, before popping up and running the last few yards to the end zone.
Tying the game at 7-7, the Redskins outscored the Browns 31-14, erasing any memory of the dismal start to the day.
“We just kept it together and knew that there was still a lot of football left to be played out on the field,” Hankerson explained. “We kept feeding off each other and everything turned out good.”
And especially good for Hankerson. He was targeted twice more in the game, catching a third quarter red zone pass that he converted for his second touchdown of the game.
This was Hankerson’s first two-touchdown game of his career, a testament, he said, to his quarterback Kirk Cousins.
“[Cousins] did one helluva job,” Hankerson said. “He stepped in and made a few great plays and he should feel good. I know Kirk is a great player. He comes to work every day preparing like he’s a starter. It showed today.”
With a Giants’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Redskins take control of the NFC East and control their own destiny to the playoffs.
Hankerson said that he and his teammates feel vindicated for all of their hard work to get to 8-6, but understand that the next two games make or break the season.
“It felt good tonight and it feels good to be in first place,” he said. “But you know what? We worked hard for it. And now, we’ve got to just keep taking it one game at a time.
“We’re on to Philly now, and we’ve got to take care of Philly.”