Loss to Green Bay could sack Ramsey

Redskins' rookie QB struggles in 30-9 setback

Matthews might get start

NFL Week 7

October 21, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Patrick Ramsey experiment might be coming to a rapid end.

After the Washington Redskins dropped their second consecutive game -- a 30-9 flogging by the Green Bay Packers before a Lambeau Field record crowd of 63,363 yesterday - with Ramsey as the team's starting quarterback, coach Steve Spurrier said he might turn to former starter Shane Matthews in an attempt to reverse the team's 2-4 record.

"We've got to try to put the best players out there to win the game," Spurrier said. "As coaches, if we feel that Shane with his experience can throw the ball well and in place, then we have to play him. ... I don't like doing this, but we're in that situation."

Spurrier's comments came after Ramsey's six-sack, two-fumble performance against Green Bay. The rookie from Tulane completed 10 of 24 passes for 135 yards with no touchdowns and a 60.2 rating.

In his debut against the Tennessee Titans two weeks ago, Ramsey was 20 of 34 for 268 yards, two touchdowns and a 103.6 rating.

"He played OK, but I don't know if we're expecting too much of him right now -- as far as making decisions and hitting guys that are open and where to throw it and when to throw it," Spurrier said. "It's a lot for him right now."

Throw in Ramsey's effort against the New Orleans Saints last week, and the 32nd pick in April's draft has committed six turnovers, been sacked 13 times and thrown one touchdown in two starts.

Even he seemed resigned to the possibility of returning to his role as a backup.

"That's Coach's decision," Ramsey said wearily. "I've got to play better than I did today. No excuses about it."

If the starter's role is returned to Matthews, he will be making his first start since a 20-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 22. Spurrier said Danny Wuerffel is not an option because his sprained right shoulder hasn't allowed him to throw a pass in two weeks.

Spurrier, who will make a decision later this week as Washington prepares for the Indianapolis Colts in a Sunday night game at FedEx Field, said Ramsey might need the rest to find his game again.

"If that's what we have to do to get his confidence back, that's what we'll have to do," Spurrier said. "We'll try to put the quarterback out there who can help us win the game."

Ramsey wasn't the only Redskin with fumble troubles. Running back Stephen Davis' fumble at midfield with 28 seconds left in the first quarter killed a promising Redskins drive with Green Bay holding a 7-3 lead.

And wide receiver Kevin Lockett's fumble at Washington's 39-yard line led to a Ryan Longwell 41-yard field goal that gave the Packers a 20-9 advantage with 9:21 left in the fourth quarter.

The fumbles by Ramsey and Lockett occurred during three consecutive Redskins possessions in the second half when they were trailing 17-9. Ramsey's second fumble -- caused by defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila's sack -- led to Ahman Green's 8-yard touchdown run and a 27-9 cushion with 7:48 left in the game.

"We gave ourselves a good chance to win," Lockett said. "We still can't turn the ball over three or four times and expect to win. This team is not good enough to do that right now."

The Packers improved to 6-1, but couldn't distance themselves from Washington until late in the fourth quarter. And Green Bay will go into its bye week with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over quarterback Brett Favre, who limped out of the game at the 11:26 mark of the third quarter.

Favre, who owns the NFL record for consecutive starts by a quarterback with 164, was injured when he was sacked by LaVar Arrington and Jeremiah Trotter for a 12-yard loss.

Favre, who didn't finish a game during his Iron Man streak for the fourth time, was listed as suffering a sprained left knee and will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam today. Favre, who left with an 11-for-14 effort for 89 yards, was replaced by Doug Pederson, who hadn't thrown a pass in two seasons.

"I asked someone if they had the classified ads so I can see if there's another job out there because it's a little hard to work around here without No. 4," Packers coach Mike Sherman said.

Without Favre, Green Bay relied on Green, who rushed for 88 yards on 24 carries and recorded the first three-touchdown game of his career.

The loss marred a solid effort from the Redskins' defense, which limited the Packers to a season-low 243 yards of total offense.

But cornerback Champ Bailey wasn't interested in moral victories.

"When Favre went out, we lost the opportunity to get ahead," he said. "We are playing against ourselves. We've got to learn to protect the ball."

Added defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson: "We're finding ways to lose the ballgame instead of the reverse."

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