'Skins absent, too, in rout by Elway-less Broncos 0-4 team hits 'rock bottom,' hears boos after 38-16 loss

September 28, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- John Elway took the day off to rest his strained right hamstring yesterday.

But it didn't matter too much.

Many of the Washington Redskins' players also took the afternoon off, even though they lined up to play against the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.

The result was predictable and ugly for Washington, which fell to 0-4 and was nearly blown off its home field for the second time this season, being humiliated by 4-0 Denver, 38-16, at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.

Elway's backup, Bubby Brister, has seldom looked better, and Terrell Davis didn't seem to extend himself too much to gain 119 yards on 21 carries.

Brister completed 16 of 24 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

"John's a great player who will never tell you he can't go," Denver coach Mike Shanahan said of the decision not to play Elway. "There was a look in his eye and he was giving it everything he possibly could to play. I just did not feel it would be the right decision."

The Redskins are not only 0-2 at home, but they also have been pummeled by the San Francisco 49ers and Broncos by a total score of 83-26 in two games.

No wonder Redskins fans unleashed their anger at the team and coach Norv Turner once again as they left the field, chanting "Norv Must Go."

Asked if he was hurt by the reaction, Turner said, "It hurts that we can't get the job done. You can say we played an outstanding Broncos team, but unfortunately they are not the issue. We are the issue. It wouldn't matter who we were playing, we'd get the same results as long as we continue to make the kind of errors we're making."

Said receiver Leslie Shepherd: "People say, 'Don't panic. Don't worry.' Well, panic. Worry. Because this is rock bottom."

The Redskins were guilty of eight penalties for 65 yards, turned the ball over three times and were totally inept on defense most of the day.

The Washington player who got burned most often was Cris Dishman, who just last season was named to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his 11-year career.

The nightmare for Dishman, 33, began in the first quarter when Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey turned him completely around for a 19-yard touchdown reception for a 7-0 lead.

McCaffrey owned Dishman the rest of the day and caught four passes for 74 yards.

Dishman was reduced to near tears after the game.

"I'm hurting myself," he said. "I'm going crazy out there and doing stuff I shouldn't be. I need to bounce back to regain the respect of my players and the coaches."

Many of the Washington fans among an announced crowd of 71,880 weren't even around when the game ended.

The Broncos are the first defending Super Bowl champions to start the following season with a 4-0 record since the 1990 San Francisco 49ers. In contrast, the Redskins are off to their worst start since 1981, when Joe Gibbs was in his first season and started 0-5.

And there are no signs of things getting any better for Washington, which has been outscored 56-10 in the third quarter.

"We don't deserve the support of the fans the way we're playing," said Washington middle linebacker Marvcus Patton, who had 15 tackles and seemed to be facing the Broncos alone most of the day.

Redskins quarterback Trent Green moved the ball in the middle of the field but once he got close to the goal line, he seemed to make a mistake or throw an interception. Green completed 19 of 31 for 252 yards and one touchdown, but threw two interceptions.

Green's stats were deceiving because he had a 75-yard touchdown pass to Michael Westbrook midway through the fourth quarter when Denver was sailing, 38-10.

Pub Date: 9/28/98

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