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Ramsey Pockets A Solid Outing

QB Gives Redskins Needed Boost

By Nunyo Demasio

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37787-2003Aug24.html

Patrick Ramsey didn't bother making sure any helmets were in the vicinity when he punched the air with his right fist in celebrating his chicanery-induced touchdown. The Washington Redskins quarterback showed no apprehension about aggravating a sore (throwing) finger suffered in the previous game.

And despite participating in only one full practice this week, Ramsey showed no rust, leading the Redskins to a 24-3 victory over the Baltimore Ravens at FedEx Field last night.

Ramsey had his best performance of the preseason, completing 8 of 13 passes for 100 yards, zero interceptions and an 111.1 quarterback rating. Just as important, Ramsey instilled some confidence in the Redskins, who had stumbled throughout the preseason.

"We kind of played below our potential," said Ramsey, who was helped by a sturdy running game that used several tailbacks. "I think, for the most part, [last night] is the way we'll play throughout the season."

Ramsey's performance came in the penultimate exhibition, which is closer than any other to a regular season game. And the second-year quarterback was sharp against the Ravens' first-team defense.

Ramsey bruised the knuckle above his right index finger in the first quarter of last week's 20-13 loss to the New England Patriots. He had slammed his finger against the helmet of a defensive player. But Ramsey played through the second quarter, leading the Redskins to their first scoring drive of preseason. (Ramsey finished that game completing 13 of 24 passes for 149 yards with one touchdown and a 55.7 rating.)

"I didn't know if he was going to play [last night]," running back-kick returner Chad Morton said. "It turned out that he did an outstanding job for us."

Because of the injury, Ramsey didn't participate in practice this week until Wednesday, when he threw in individual drills. Ramsey could not throw hard. But Redskins Coach Steve Spurrier found it beneficial because of his quarterback's penchant to zip bullets when soft passes would do. "He's done a great job with his touch," tackle Jon Jansen said.

Ramsey did not participate in a full practice until Thursday, when he vowed not to play with any hesitation.

Unlike last week when he was sacked twice, Ramsey had reasonable time to throw and was not sacked. He guided the Redskins to a touchdown drive spanning the first and second quarters. The drive culminated with tailback Trung Canidate jutting into the end zone for a three-yard score.

After showing their brawn, the Redskins turned to finesse on their next drive. Ramsey threw an incomplete pass on third and two from the Washington 46-yard line. But Ramsey was shellacked on a late hit by defensive tackle Joe Salave'a.

The helmet-to-helmet hit drew a 15-yard penalty and gave the Redskins a first down. "We had some breaks," Ramsey said.

On the next down, the Redskins unleashed their first trick play of the season. Ramsey handed off to Morton, who initially froze Baltimore's front seven before the tailback pitched the ball to Ramsey. But the quarterback had to overcome a glitch: "I couldn't find the laces," Ramsey said. "At the last second I found them."

The sellout crowd cheered in anticipation as Ramsey threw a rainbow pass toward the end zone. Laveranues Coles seemed covered by linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed.

But Coles got a step on Reed, who fell at the last moment. And Lewis leaped to no avail as Coles caught the ball for a 39-yard touchdown.

Ramsey raised both hands in the air to signal a touchdown. The finger injury was the last thing on his mind as he punched the air with his right hand.

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