Chiefs push 'Skins into 0-3 hole, 45-13

Washington `embarrassed' at being outscored, 112-16, in franchise's worst start

NFL Week 3

October 01, 2001|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER - That the Washington Redskins are playing as badly as any team in the NFL is beyond debate, and yesterday's 45-13 drubbing at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs at FedEx Field removed any doubt.

But why the Redskins, who surrendered 546 yards in total offense to the previously 26th-rated offense of the Chiefs (1-2), have put together the worst three-game start in the history of the franchise is a mystery.

For Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil, a longtime friend of Washington coach Marty Schottenheimer, the answer is simple.

"For one thing, Marty doesn't have enough good football players. If Marty Schottenheimer gets enough good football players, I promise they'll play well," Vermeil said. `They've got a bunch of old guys that like to bitch and moan. Now, they have to go to work for a living. That's all right. I've been through that [stuff] before."

Schottenheimer smiled grimly when Vermeil's comments were relayed to him, and said he felt he has good players who accept his philosophy. Beyond that, however, the Redskins' play to date is as much a quandary to him as it is to anyone else.

"I don't think that's the issue [not buying into the system]. I don't know what the answers are. But we'll find out," Schottenheimer said. "This is as disappointed as I have felt."

There was much to be disappointed about yesterday, as the Redskins squandered the karma from their first lead of the season, on a 30-yard Brett Conway field goal two-thirds of the way through the first quarter.

They watched as former Redskins quarterback Trent Green, who was 21-for-26 for 307 yards and three touchdowns, systematically picked them apart, leading the Chiefs on seven straight scoring drives.

By the end of the third quarter, most of the announced crowd of 76,573 had departed.

"I think I speak for all the players when I say we are completely embarrassed," receiver Michael Westbrook said. "To lose 45-13, you feel helpless on the sidelines. I was embarrassed just standing on the sidelines toward the end of the game. I couldn't wait to get off the field. To expect our fans to stay out there and support us is ridiculous. The game is for the fans and we want to give them something. We can't be losing 45-13."

The Redskins have gone 0-3 nine times in their 69-year history, and were beaten by a combined 94 points in their 1954 start. But this team, in a 30-3 loss to San Diego in the opener and a 37-0 Monday night pasting at Green Bay last week, combined with yesterday's whipping, has been beaten by a combined 96 points (112-16) in its first three games.

"This is a team sport and we got beat in every phase of the game," quarterback Tony Banks said. "The defense needed us to step up in the second half when things were looking grim and we didn't step up. There were too many three-and-outs."

Actually, Banks, the former Raven, was one of the Redskins' brighter spots, as he inherited the starting slot from Jeff George, who was cut Wednesday. Banks was 11-for-27 for a modest 116 yards, but had his first touchdown pass in 173 attempts - a 26-yard throw to rookie Rod Gardner in the second quarter to get Washington to 14-10.

"I thought Tony did a very good job for us - brought us a spark, if you will," Schottenheimer said. "But it's very, very disappointing when you see the kind of performance we put forth."

The Chiefs, who dropped their first two games at home to Oakland and the New York Giants - whom the Redskins meet next week - reeled off 252 yards of total offense in the second quarter alone, as former Ravens running back Priest Holmes ran for two touchdowns and caught a scoring pass in the period.

"In the first half, we were running the ball great," said Holmes, who ran for 147 yards on 23 carries. "We had a commitment to the run, and then Trent threw the ball very accurately and threw it to the right spots. Then, all of a sudden, we were off to the races."

Off to the races, indeed. The Redskins had something of an alibi, as two important defensive cogs, linebacker LaVar Arrington (knee) and defensive end Marco Coleman (elbow), missed the game.

But their absences could not explain the poor to nonexistent coverage of All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez, who caught five passes for 88 yards, and the shoddy downfield tackling that allowed the Chiefs to mount three drives of three minutes or less each, including a lightning-quick strike at the end of the first half, in which Kansas City romped 70 yards in three plays covering only 22 seconds.

"You saw a lot of missed tackles. We have to come together as a group and make tackles," linebacker Robert Jones said. "You can't always stop receivers from making the catch, but you can stop them from running after the catch, and make the plays."

Making plays, and enough of them to keep a horrid start from blossoming into a horrible season, appears to be the only thing the Redskins can do at this point.

"It sounds like a broken record," defensive lineman Kenard Lang said of starting over. "That's the mind-set you have to have. It's like you watch the film [today], you correct your mistakes, and see what we can do better, and keep at it until we do better."

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