Bills pick off Redskins for Super sweep 4 straight INTs pace redemptive 24-10 win

November 02, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Coach Richie Petitbon made a statement about his ailing Washington Redskins football team late in the first half last night.

When the Redskins, trailing 14-10, took over on their 20 with 1:10 remaining, Petitbon gave his offense a vote of no-confidence by trying to run out the clock.

Quarterback Mark Rypien, playing on a gimpy knee, then illustrated why Petitbon is leery about his offense when he was intercepted on the team's next four possessions.

The result was that the Washington Redskins were beaten by the Buffalo Bills, 24-10, before 79,106 chilled fans at Rich Stadium. The Redskins lost their sixth straight game for the first time since 1963.

The victory enabled the 6-1 Bills to complete a sweep of the three teams they lost to in the Super Bowl the past three seasons.

"The sweep is great," said Thurman Thomas, who misplaced his helmet at the beginning of the Super Bowl against the Redskins. "It's always sweet revenge."

The Redskins, who routed the Bills, 37-24, in the Super Bowl just 21 months ago, forced the Bills to punt only once on their first nine possessions.

Jim Kelly completed 18 of 24 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns.

Andre Reed caught seven passes for 159 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown reception.

Thomas ran 28 times for 129 yards.

"It was a very disappointing loss," Petitbon said.

The only bright spot for the Redskins was rookie running back Reggie Brooks, who gained 117 yards in 24 carries.

The Bills hadn't given up 100 yards to a runner in 22 straight regular-season games.

The Redskins, blown out by a combined score of 77-13 the past two games, kept it closer this time, but Petitbon's decision at the end of the first half showed the Redskins are playing safety-first DTC football. They also ran out the clock when they were trailing at the end of the first half at Miami.

Explaining his decision, Petitbon said, "If you notice, we got the ball back and threw an interception. That's why we tried to run it out at the beginning. [Center] Jeff Bostic just came up limping.

"Knowing the pass protection problems I knew we were going to have at that time, the wise thing to do was regroup and wait for the second half."

With the Bills calling two timeouts once they saw the Redskins were trying to run it out at the end of the first half, they forced the Redskins to punt with 26 seconds left. A roughing-the-kicker penalty gave the Redskins a first down on their 40 with 18 seconds left.

Petitbon then gave Rypien the green light, and he underthrew a pass that was intercepted by James Williams.

It set up a 58-yard field-goal attempt by Steve Christie that was short on the final play of the first half.

When Rypien was intercepted on the team's first three series of the second half -- twice when Desmond Howard ran wrong routes -- the Redskins were on their way to a loss.

They had one last shot when they had the ball on the Buffalo 22 with 6:39 left, but Jeff Wright batted down a fourth-down pass by Rypien.

Rypien said: "We had some chances. We needed somebody to make some plays.

"I really felt I let this team down today. As a quarterback, you have a big chance to step up, and I don't think I did today."

Even though Rypien was the victim of the wrong routes Howard ran, he took the blame.

Rypien said: "I'm the last line of defense. I didn't make the good decision. Even though we had some guys in the wrong place, as a quarterback, you've got to make the right decision."

The Redskins also weren't helped by their mounting injury toll.

Right tackle Ed Simmons went out in the first quarter with a knee injury, forcing Bostic, who was supposed to sit out with a knee injury, to come in the game.

Raleigh McKenzie then moved from center to left guard, and Ray Brown switched to right tackle.

"That's a big one, a real big one," Petitbon said of Simmons' injury.

To make matters worse, Mo Elewonibi injured a knee picking up a fumble near the end of the game.

Petitbon, though, tried to take some consolation in the Redskins staying close most of the game.

"I think we made progress. I thought it was a lot closer game than the score, really," Petitbon said.

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