Saints take Redskins apart, 43-27

Flat effort in falling to 2-3 leaves Spurrier seething

Pro Football

October 14, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER - The Washington Redskins' futility was exceeded only by their coach's disgust.

Encouraged by a 17-point win over the Tennessee Titans last week, the Redskins were beaten in nearly every facet of the game yesterday en route to a 43-27 thumping by the visiting New Orleans Saints.

Their dreary performance before 80,768 fans provoked Washington coach Steve Spurrier into venting his frustration.

"As a team, we looked like we didn't care if we win the game or not," he said. "It's pitiful watching us play right now. We'll try to make some corrections. We'll try to find out guys that want to bust their tail and play their assignments."

A few moments later in his post-game conference, Spurrier said: "We've got to make some changes. I can't watch this kind of ... Redskins fans can't watch this. They're not going to pay pretty good money to watch a bunch of guys play like we did today."

Spurrier's anger stemmed from a number of weaknesses exposed by New Orleans (5-1).

Rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey, making his first career NFL start as the Redskins' 14th starter in a decade, threw three interceptions on the team's first four possessions of the game. He finished with four interceptions - a dubious feat that a Washington quarterback hadn't achieved since Dan Sandifer did it against the Boston Yanks in 1948.

After being given a game ball in the victory over the Titans, Washington's offensive line stumbled in giving up seven sacks and allowing the Saints' defensive linemen to pummel Ramsey after he released the ball on several occasions.

Of the 11 penalties the Redskins - who dropped to last place in the NFC East with a 2-3 record - committed in the game, six came during the disastrous first quarter in which New Orleans built a 13-0 lead.

The defense surrendered two Aaron Brooks touchdown passes on third-and-long situations, and a second-year pro named Michael Lewis returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns and totaled 356 yards.

"This was one of the weirdest games I've ever been associated with," said Redskins defensive end Bruce Smith. "It's just a very disappointing loss right now."

Where to begin?

Ramsey's start certainly wasn't anything to cherish as the former Tulane product opened the game with his three interceptions.

His first poor read on third down-and-12 from Washington's 8-yard line contributed to his trying to rocket the ball to wide receiver Rod Gardner in double coverage. Free safety Jay Bellamy leaped in front of Gardner, and the Saints took advantage with a 21-yard field goal by John Carney with 8:44 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing series, Ramsey was hit by defensive end Darren Howard as he released the ball, and strong safety Sammy Knight intercepted the floater at the Redskins' 18. Another Carney field goal from 23 yards gave New Orleans a 6-0 lead with 6:49 left.

On the next possession, Redskins running back Stephen Davis fumbled when hit by cornerback Michael Hawthorne, and Bellamy recovered the ball at Washington's 30.

Four plays and 28 yards later, Brooks dumped a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Boo Williams for a 13-0 advantage with 4:41 left.

Bellamy intercepted Ramsey again on the next series when Gardner bobbled a high toss. Six plays later, Brooks (12 of 23 for 205 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception) connected on a 17-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Joe Horn for a 20-point New Orleans advantage just six seconds into the second quarter.

Ramsey and the Redskins' offense eventually recovered in the second quarter. Davis (51 yards on 14 carries) scored on a 1-yard run around the left side to complete a seven-play, 75-yard march.

After Lewis returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to give the Saints a 26-7 advantage, Ramsey guided Washington on a 10-play, 81-yard drive that he capped with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone.

New Orleans appeared to be on the verge of regaining its cushion as the offense marched from its 26 to the Redskins' 20. But on third-and-17, Ifeanyi Ohalete stepped in front of a Brooks pass intended for wide receiver Jerome Pathon, and the second-year strong safety returned the interception 78 yards to help Washington narrow the gap to five points with 1:47 left in the second quarter.

But the Saints scored 17 straight points spanning the second, third, and fourth quarters to put the game out of reach.

Next for Redskins

Opponent:Green Bay Packers

Site:Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis.

When:Sunday, 4:15 p.m.

TV/Radio:Chs. 5, 45/WNAV (1430 AM), WJFK (106.7 FM)

Line:Packers by 8

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