Punchless Skins KO'd by Saints for 3rd loss in 4 Two near-misses are big in 20-3 rout

November 24, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS -- For the Washington Redskins, was like watching the rerun of a bad movie.

The injury-riddled Redskins suffered their second straight loss and third in the past four games last night by following the same script that has haunted them the past month.

They couldn't run. They couldn't protect the passer. They couldn't throw the ball and the defense couldn't do it alone.

The result was a 20-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome that dropped the defending champions' record to 6-5.

"We're not able to make the plays to beat somebody like this," coach Joe Gibbs said.

Two plays the Redskins didn't make in the second quarter when they were ahead 3-0 turned the game against them.

First, quarterback Mark Rypien missed Gary Clark when he was wide open going down the left sideline.

Rypien said: "I thought it was a gut cinch. That thing last year and before was a touchdown. I'll take blame for that one. I just hung it up too far. I thought I made a good throw, I had a lot of adrenalin going, set up quick, I laid it out there and I put it out too far," he said.

The second play came when Wilber Marshall intercepted a Bobby Hebert pass, but was out of bounds.

"I think he started out of bounds by a few inches. He caught the ball and came down in bounds," Gibbs said. "That was a correct call. That's where we are. We're about six inches away from some things."

The Saints then marched for the first of their two second-period touchdowns to take control.

Hebert of the Saints outplayed Rypien, as he completed 14 of 18 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown.

Gibbs had backup quarterback Cary Conklin on the 45-man active roster for the first time because safety Danny Copeland and offensive lineman Joe Jacoby were on the two-man inactive list with injuries. But Gibbs never came close to pulling Rypien and defended the game of his quarterback, who completed 21 of 38 passes for 207 yards and was sacked four times.

Besides missing Clark in the first half, Rypien overthrew Ricky Sanders in the end zone in the second half, but Gibbs said: "He made great plays and hit guys, too. I think you've got to take it overall. I think any quarterback who throws that many times in a game is probably going to have a few you miss."

Gibbs also didn't think the Redskins played as poorly as they did last week, when they fell behind the Kansas City Chiefs 28-0 and lost, 35-16.

"Tonight was a little bit different. We played more solid than what we were last week," he said. "Last week was kind a fire drill. It was all over the place. We couldn't get anything going."

They didn't get much going this time. It all started with the team's inability to run. Earnest Byner gained just 29 yards in 13 carries, and Ricky Ervins, who didn't come in until the second half, added just 6 yards in three carries.

"Obviously, we didn't ever generate a running attack, which certainly didn't help the overall game plan. That obviously is part of the offensive line's fault," said Jim Hanifan, the offensive line coach.

It didn't help that the only offensive lineman who's started all 11 games at the same position, right guard Mark Schlereth, was forced out in the second half with a knee injury.

He tried to go without practicing last week, but gave way to Mike Haight in the second half.

"There was only so much I could do. I kind of reached my limit," Schlereth said. "I tried to battle and hung in there as long as I could. I didn't have any push off my left leg. I lasted as long as I could."

The Redskins have managed two offensive touchdowns in the (( past 23 quarters and have tied a record for futility by not scoring more than one in six straight games.

Rypien did throw what would have been an 18-yard touchdown pass to Clark in the first quarter, but it was nullified by a holding call on Raleigh McKenzie and the Redskins settled for a Chip Lohmiller field goal.

"[Saints linebacker] Pat Swilling was going to the ground and all he [McKenzie] did was continue driving him to the ground and the official threw the flag," Hanifan said. "Rollo told me: 'The guy was falling. All I did was aid him in his fall.' He said, 'What am I supposed to do, try to hold him up?' "

On that first drive, the Redskins came up with a few new wrinkles. Rookie Desmond Howard caught his first NFL pass, Kelly Goodburn pulled off a fake punt and Byner tried a halfback pass to Ron Middleton that was tipped away by New Orleans' Keith Taylor.

That was it for the Redskins offense.

The rest of the game Rypien, playing behind a makeshift line, faced a fierce rush and the offense never got rolling again. Although McKenzie played well against Swilling, right tackle Ed Simmons had trouble with Ricky Jackson, who had two sacks.

Cornerback Darrell Green, who suffered a broken forearm in the second game and was feared lost for the season, healed faster than expected and was activated for the game, but played only sparingly on third-down passing situations.

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