Brunell steps in, proves bright spot for Redskins

Veteran throws for 103 to overshadow Ramsey

September 02, 2005|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

He's not the starter, but Mark Brunell played as if he were.

Slated to be the backup when the Washington Redskins open the regular season at home against the Chicago Bears in nine days, Brunell replaced an ineffective Patrick Ramsey in the first quarter and directed the visiting Redskins on two of three scoring drives in last night's 26-20 overtime loss to the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

In a sloppy final preseason game for both teams, the play of Brunell, 34, was one of few positives for Washington (1-3).

Brunell, who entered the game with 3:36 left in the first quarter, completed seven of 16 passes for 103 yards, helped his team open the scoring with a field goal and connected with wide receiver Jimmy Farris on a 22-yard touchdown pass just before halftime.

Farris finished the evening with two touchdown receptions, also hauling in a 37-yard pass from rookie Jason Campbell with 1:36 left in the third quarter.

Brunell's effort, which included no sacks, offset a poor outing from Ramsey, who played in just two series. On four passing plays, the anointed starter hooked up with running back Rock Cartwright on a 10-yard screen pass, but also was sacked twice and threw the ball behind H-back Chris Cooley.

Still, the offense's lack of production under Ramsey (37 yards in 10 plays) didn't change coach Joe Gibbs' views on the unit's starter.

"We're ready to roll with what we've got," Gibbs said.

Brunell, whose 3-6 record as a starter last season prompted Gibbs to hand the starting job to Ramsey, appeared confident and strong last night. A 29-yard completion to wide receiver James Thrash highlighted a 10-play, 49-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard field goal by John Hall, giving the Redskins a 3-0 lead with 12:01 left in the second quarter.

After the Ravens tied it with Matt Stover's 40-yard field goal, Brunell hit H-back Mike Sellers on a 25-yard pass and, a few plays later, found fullback Brian Kozlowski for 12 more yards.

Brunell capped the 11-play, 79-yard march by pump-faking and then delivering a 22-yard strike to Farris in the back right corner of the end zone with 1:02 left in the first half.

"I felt real sharp," Brunell said. "Things are coming together for the offense, and I expect it to continue into the regular season."

Even more troubling to Gibbs was the team's penchant for committing penalties and turnovers. After racking up 19 penalties for 127 yards in the first three preseason games, Washington was flagged 10 times for 89 yards last night.

And Campbell's two third-quarter interceptions increased the team's give-away total to 10 this preseason.

"We don't play smart football," Gibbs said. "That always concerns you."

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