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Saints march to win



Date published: 12/1/2003

Late TD pass sinks Redskins

LANDOVER, Md.--For the third consecutive Sunday, the Washington Redskins had their fingers on a fourth-quarter lead.

sp1130skins4.jpgRunning back Trung Canidate rushed for 115 yards on 16 carries yesterday, his first 100-yard game since joining the Redskins.

For the third consecutive Sunday, rather than tucking the advantage away in their pockets, they dangled it in front of their opponent like a good steak.

And New Orleans showed once again that the Redskins are bendable until the moment they break, as the Saints snagged a 24-20 victory at FedEx Field.


Redskins safety Matt Bowen hits New Orleans tight end Boo Williams, but can't stop him from scoring the game-winning touchdown.

"You can't hit a team one time and expect them to fall," Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey said. "You've got to hit him, then hit him again and again. We keep hitting people and then we just sit back and let them tear our faces up."

With Dallas and Carolina currently holding the two wild card playoff slots with 8-4 records, the Redskins (4-8) have been all but eliminated from postseason contention.

Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw another, and running back Deuce McAllister registered his ninth consecutive 100-yard game, rumbling for 165 yards on 30 carries.

"He's the best back I've ever seen," Redskins safety Matt Bowen said. "He seems to get stronger when you hit him. He thrives off it. He was breaking tackles in the fourth quarter. He just exploded."

Redskins running back Trung Canidate reached the 100-yard plateau for the first time this season, gaining 115 yards on 16 attempts. Tim Hasselbeck got his first career start at quarterback--subbing for the injured Patrick Ramsey--and completed 22 of 42 passes for 231 yards with an interception.

No. 3 wideout Darnerien McCants missed yesterday's game with a knee injury and No. 2 receiver Rod Gardner missed the second half with a bruised forearm. Down the stretch, their absences were palpable.

After a 49-yard John Hall field goal gave the Redskins a 20-17 lead with 12:53 to play, Keyuo Craver took the kickoff and galloped 52 yards, setting up a steady diet of Deuce.

McAllister moved 8, 6, 4 and 5 yards on successive carries. On first down from the 15, Brooks dropped back and hit tight end Boo Williams over the middle for the eventual game-winning touchdown.

"I know [the Redskins] have lost a couple of games in the fourth quarter," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "So if our defense could hang around I knew we'd have an opportunity."

After gaining one first down, Hasselbeck wiggled in the pocket on third-and-2 from the 36 and had Coles open down the right sideline. But the pass was high and out of bounds.

"That's the play I want back," Hasselbeck said, "because I need to give him a chance to get his hands on the football."

The Redskins punted and the defense promptly held firm, giving the home team the ball at its own 20-yard line with 2:12 left.

Hasselbeck hit Coles for 21 yards on first down. The next two passes, however, fell incomplete.

On third down Hasselbeck hit Patrick Johnson near the 25-yard line, but the ball was knocked loose by safety Jay Bellamy.

With Coles drawing double coverage on fourth down, Hasselbeck fired a pass to seldom-used rookie Taylor Jacobs and Fakhir Brown batted it away to seal the game.

"Obviously when you look back at all the incompletions, you realize you should have been running the ball," Redskins coach Steve Spurrier said. "But you've got to believe in your receivers and your quarterback."

In a scoreless tie late in the first quarter yesterday, the Saints took the ball at their own 16-yard line and crossed midfield thanks to a 40-yard pass interference call on Bailey.

McAllister had four carries, moving the ball to the 7, and Brooks crossed the goal line with a quarterback draw on the first play of the second quarter, making it 7-0.

The Redskins responded midway through the quarter, rolling off an 11-play, 76-yard drive that was capped when fullback Rock Cartwright took a pitch and scored from four yards out.

McAllister came right back, taking a first down handoff and shredding through the middle for 52 yards, ultimately setting up a 25-yard John Carney field goal that gave the Saints a 10-7 lead.

"Up front they're doing a great job of giving me holes," McAllister said. "Sometimes they're not going to be there and you have to make a play."

With 2:24 remaining until halftime, Chad Morton took the kickoff, found a hole up the middle, broke three tackles and darted to the left for a 94-yard touchdown, giving the Redskins a 14-10 lead at the break.

On the opening drive of the second half, Hasselbeck was stripped by Charles Grant at the Saints' 37-yard line. New Orleans cornerback Ashley Ambrose recovered the fumble and scampered to the Redskins' 40, and a facemask call on Coles moved the ball to the 28.

But the Redskins' defense came to the fore and Carney's 48-yard field goal sailed wide left.

The Redskins then moved 35 yards on nine plays and got a 45-yard Hall field goal to take a 17-10 advantage.

The Redskin defense was victimized by penalties on the Saints' next drive.

Williams' 17-yard grab on third-and-6 from the 38 was stretched an extra 15 yards when Regan Upshaw was whistled for roughing the passer.

On second-and-8 from the 17 Bailey was called for his second pass interference penalty of the afternoon, giving New Orleans first-and-goal from the 3.

"I'm standing there holding my ground," Bailey said, "and the guy ran right into me. What [in the world] am I supposed to do?"

On third down, Brooks rolled left, looked, waited, and decided to run. He put a nasty juke on Jessie Armstead and notched the tying touchdown.

"This is new for a lot of us," Spurrier said, "trying to win the close ones. We've not done very well at it, the last three weeks especially."

To reach ADAM HIMMELSBACH: 540/374-5444 dalexander@freelancestar.com

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