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BALT. SUN: Redskins get offense going vs. tough 'D'


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Redskins get offense going vs. tough 'D'

Washington holds its own against physical Ravens


By Edward Lee

Sun Staff

Originally published August 24, 2003


LANDOVER - In the "Battle of the Beltways," the Washington Redskins' offense found its path unhindered by roadblocks or gridlock.

Matched up against a Ravens defense that ranked first in the league in fewest yards allowed this preseason, Washington's starting offense accumulated 140 yards and 17 points in 1 1/2 quarters en route to a 24-3 win at FedEx Field last night.

"We matched up with the Ravens," Redskins coach Steve Spurrier said. "We didn't get pushed around. We looked them in the eye and played a tough, physical game."

Washington (1-2) gained 291 yards of total offense against the Ravens (1-2), who surrendered 214 yards in the first preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.

Another critical factor in the Redskins' first preseason victory was the play of their defense, which limited the Ravens' starting offense to 42 yards of total offense until its final series of the first half.

Despite a bruised knuckle on his throwing hand that prevented him from practicing until Thursday, Washington quarterback Patrick Ramsey was 8-for-13 for 100 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Laveranues Coles.

"Everybody is pretty upbeat on offense that we scored," said Ramsey, who exited midway through the second quarter with a quarterback rating of 111.1. "[but] we cannot get too fired up. ... We have gotten better from game one to game two to game three, and hopefully, we can continue to do this through the season."

Washington's 17 first-half points eclipsed the 13 the offense posted in its first two preseason games.

After the Redskins converted a fumbled punt return by Lamont Brightful into a 30-yard field goal by John Hall, they capped a 10-play, 75-yard march with a 3-yard touchdown run by Trung Canidate (eight carries for 20 yards) just three seconds into the second quarter.

Washington used a trick play on its next possession to extend its advantage to 17-0. From the Ravens' 39-yard line, Ramsey handed the ball off to running back Chad Morton, who flipped it back to the quarterback.

Ramsey then lofted a pass over a leaping pair of defenders - linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed - to Coles (three receptions for 65 yards) in the end zone with 11:54 left in the second quarter.

"[Developing chemistry] is going to take more time than just this one game, but we got off to a good start," Coles said of his connection with Ramsey. "You can tell we threw the ball around pretty well today."

The Redskins' much-maligned defense also awoke. After surrendering 300 rushing yards in two games, the defense limited the Ravens' ground attack to 35 yards. None of the Ravens' 13 first downs came from the running game.

"The front line did their job tonight, holding their gaps, holding the double teams, and also grabbing the linemen so they couldn't get on us," said linebacker Jeremiah Trotter.

Ravens running back Jamal Lewis compiled just 4 yards on five carries, and quarterbacks Kyle Boller and Chris Redman were sacked a combined four times.

Perhaps the only downside was the inability of Washington's running back corps to make a case for the No. 1 starting role.

Ladell Betts carried six times for 10 yards, Kenny Watson two for 3 yards, and Chad Morton one for 11 yards.

In fact, undrafted rookie Sultan McCullough posted the best performance, capping a seven-carry, 38-yard night with a 15-yard touchdown burst early in the fourth quarter.

NOTES: Wide receiver Taylor Jacobs sprained his left shoulder, but Spurrier said the injury wasn't serious. Defensive tackle Jermaine Haley (right ankle sprain), wide receiver Patrick Johnson (bruised quadriceps) and tight end Leonard Stephens (sore groin) also suffered injuries.

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