Redskins: 'at rock bbottom' 36-6 loss gives Cards sweep, puts Washington at 1-5

October 18, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. -- How bad is it?

It has gotten so bad that the Washington Redskins can't even beat the Phoenix Cardinals.

"We're probably at rock bottom right now," coach Richie Petitbon said after the Redskins were drilled by the Cardinals, 36-6, yesterday before 48,143 at Sun Devil Stadium.

It was the first time the Redskins (1-5) have been swept by the Cardinals since 1974. They had won 30 of the past 37 games from the Cardinals (2-4), who haven't been able to beat any other team -- not even the New England Patriots -- this year.

"Right now, we have to be very honest with ourselves. We're not a very good football team. We're not a very well-coached football team. There's not a lot you can say good about this football team," Petitbon said.

The Redskins can all but forget about Super Bowls, playoffs and tiebreakers.

They can only play for pride now.

"At 1-5, that's the only thing that can keep us going," Petitbon said.

They can also play for their jobs. The last time a Redskins coach suffered double-digit losses was in 1980, when Jack Pardee was fired for posting a 6-10 record. The Redskins have to finish 6-4 to better that.

The Redskins can't figure out what's wrong. They have had injuries, but that doesn't explain getting beat by a total of 64 points the past two weeks. They were beaten by the New York Giants, 41-7, last week.

"It's a sobering experience for all of us," running back Earnest Byner said.

It was the first time they had lost back-to-back games by 64 points since they were 1-12-1 in 1961.

It was the first time they have lost five straight since they started 0-5 in Joe Gibbs' first season, when they rebounded to finish 8-8.

They haven't had a longer losing streak since 1963, when they lost seven straight under Bill McPeak.

"We're all groping for answers right now," general manager Charley Casserly said.

Quarterback Mark Rypien, who fumbled twice and was intercepted once as the Redskins turned the ball over four times in the first half, said: "It's very somber in here. A lot of us are hanging our heads."

He added: "We're just trying to find a way to win a ballgame right now. When you lose 6-0, you're looking at one side. You lose like this, you've got to say that nobody's getting it done."

Petitbon said, "We lost as a team."

This time, though, the offense had to take a large share of the blame.

Even though Ricky Ervins gained 98 yards -- 95 in the first half -- they couldn't find a passing game to complement it.

Rypien passed for 120 yards -- only one pass to a wide receiver went longer than 10 yards -- and fumbled when offensive tackles Ed Simmons and Moe Elewonibi were beaten by Freddie Joe Nunn and Ken Harvey, who clobbered him.

Then there was Eric Swann, who was a one-man wrecking crew against Mark Schlereth, one of the many Redskins playing hurt.

Swann had 12 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble that he recovered and a safety.

"Yes, this was the best game of my career," he said.

It didn't make any difference that Garrison Hearst was held to 28 yards in 13 carries and left in the third period with a knee injury. RookieRon Moore picked up 80 yards in 13 carries, and Johnny Bailey gained 45 yards in four carries.

The game started positively for the Redskins, who figured out how to score in the first period yesterday.

It didn't make any difference.

Outscored 40-0 in the first period in the first five games, the Redskins put a lot of emphasis on getting off to a better start.

They put together a 13-play, 54-yard drive that lasted 7:28 before it stalled when they couldn't convert a third-and-two at the Phoenix 26.

They settled for a 43-yard field goal by Chip Lohmiller.

Then it all fell apart.

The Redskins turned the ball over on their second, fourth and sixth and seventh possessions of the first half.

On the second possession, on a third-and-nine at the Washington 35, Nunn sacked Rypien, forcing the fumble that Michael Bankston recovered at the 33.

The Redskins escaped without damage when Tom Carter leaped into the air in the end zone and grabbed a first-down pass away from Randal Hill. Carter, though, was often victimized by Ricky Proehl, who caught five passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.

After the Redskins were forced to punt, Proehl caught a 31-yard pass that set up a 45-yard field goal by Greg Davis that tied the game.

On the Redskins' next possession, Ervins fumbled when he was hit by Swann, who recovered at the Washington 45.

OC Anthony Edwards caught a 18-yard pass on a third-and-six at the

Washington 41 that set up Davis' second field goal, a 45-yarder.

After the Redskins punted on their next series, Edwards caught a 49-yard pass on a third-and-three at the Phoenix 46. That gave the Cardinals a first down on the Washington 8, and three plays later, Hearst sprinted around the left end for the touchdown that made it 13-3.

On their next series, the Redskins gave the Cardinals another opportunity when Harvey sacked Rypien to cause a fumble that Bankston picked up at the 39 and returned 9 yards.

The defense held, as Andre Collins threw quarterback Steve Beuerlein for an 11-yard loss and the Cardinals were forced to punt.

On the final play of the half, at the Phoenix 48, the Redskins declined to give Lohmiller a chance to attempt a record 65-yard field goal.

vTC Instead, Rypien threw a Hail Mary pass in the end zone that Lorenzo Lynch intercepted for the fourth turnover of the half.

The Cardinals broke it open in the third period.

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