Again, defeat to Dallas is followed by quick recovery

Before '99, Washington was 0-7-1 in those games

Redskins notebook

November 02, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins have not figured out how to beat the Dallas Cowboys this season, but they have mastered the ability to bounce back from those defeats.

The Redskins scored 98 points in their two games after losses to the Cowboys, routing the New York Giants, 50-21, in Week 2 and the Chicago Bears, 48-22, Sunday. As a result, the Redskins (5-2) haven't lost consecutive games since Oct. 11-18 of last season and find themselves in sole possession of the NFC East lead.

"The team has great character," coach Norv Turner. "One loss, one poor performance or one problem along the way isn't going to stop these guys. There's no question that we had a great sense of urgency."

Except that's not been typical of the Redskins. Before this season, they were 0-7-1 in games after Dallas.

The Redskins have reversed that trend this year by jumping on their opponents in the first quarter. The Redskins scored on their first drives against the Giants and Bears and had a 14-0 lead 10 minutes into each game.

The last two times, however, that the Redskins had winning records in November -- 1996 and 1997 -- they flopped down the stretch and failed to make the playoffs.

"Normally, they say history repeats itself," kick returner Brian Mitchell said. "It's not going to repeat itself this time."

The Redskins' offensive production is impressive, even considering only one of their victories has come against a team with a winning record.

The Redskins have bumped the St. Louis Rams as the highest-scoring team in the NFL, averaging nearly 35 points, and they have scored 48 or more points twice this season.

"Either we have a lot of poise or don't panic or we're naive," quarterback Brad Johnson said. "To be 5-2 is special. We have a chance to make something great happen this season."

Safety valve

For the first time this season, the Redskins may have to alter their starting lineup. Free safety Leomont Evans complained of headaches yesterday, a day after suffering a concussion, and is scheduled to undergo more tests today.

Evans' replacement, Matt Stevens, has overcome letting Dallas receiver Raghib Ismail run past him for the overtime-winning score in the season opener to make several big plays of his own. The fourth-year player, who also has played for the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles, is the Redskins' leader in take-aways with five. He has four interceptions and one fumble recovery.

He had two interceptions, two pass deflections and four tackles against Chicago and received a game ball for special teams play.

"He has shown he has a knack for getting to the football," Turner said.

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