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WP:Roll Over, Play Dead

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A174-2003Dec14.html

Roll Over, Play Dead

Hasselbeck, Redskins Get Run Over by Dallas's Guile, Precision

By Nunyo Demasio

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, December 15, 2003; Page D15

I365-2003Dec14L

Tim Hasselbeck isn't practicing yoga, he's trying to get himself upright after another hit from Cowboys' defense

Patrick Ramsey thought he was seeing double the last time the Washington Redskins faced the Dallas Cowboys, who have one of the stingiest defense in the NFL. On Nov. 2, Ramsey withstood his worst beating during a bruising season as the Cowboys sent pass rushers from all angles and positions. The Redskins had one of their most embarrassing performance in recent memory, losing 21-14, helpless against Dallas's blitzes.

In yesterday's rematch, the Cowboys faced a different opponent, with a scaled-back offense and a new quarterback, Tim Hasselbeck, whose quick trigger seemed suitable to exploit blitzes. Dallas threw in its own twist with an uncharacteristically conservative defense. Although the approach allowed Hasselbeck time, Dallas's defense befuddled Washington for the second straight game, resulting in another embarrassing loss, 27-0, at a windy and wet FedEx Field.

"I'm not very good at making excuses," Coach Steve Spurrier said, sounding as bewildered as his offense. "They kicked our tails."

The defenses were at an advantage because of a steady drizzle that turned the midfield logo into a muddy area smudged in burgundy and white. But the Cowboys' defense took advantage of the situation, looking clairvoyant each time Washington called a play. Conversely, the Redskins appeared out of sync, assuming the Cowboys would send pass rushers when Dallas responded with a vanilla look.

"Today they were smarter than us," said wideout Darnerien McCants. "We prepared for them to go crazy with blitzes and they didn't."

In a season of low points, yesterday's outcome was so ignominious that Spurrier vividly recalled the last time a team he coached was shut out: In 1987, during a Nor'easter in East Rutherford, N.J., Spurrier's Duke Blue Devils lost, 7-0, to Rutgers.

Hasselbeck had filled in for Ramsey so well in two starts that Spurrier didn't rule out a quarterback controversy next season. But yesterday, Hasselbeck threw 20 incompletions on 26 attempts for 56 yards, plus four interceptions. "I never really felt like I got in the game," he said.

The feeble display left Hasselbeck with a quarterback rating of 0.0, at least tying the record for an NFL quarterback. And Laveranues Coles -- who has been hobbled with a toe injury -- set a career low with zero receptions.

Washington's offense was so anemic that its highlight occurred on a three-yard completion -- by punter Bryan Barker. On fourth and two from the 50-yard line during the second quarter, Barker took the snap and immediately looked to his right, where he threw a dart to safety Ifeanyi Ohalete as the crowd roared.

But the drive fittingly died after Hasselbeck called an audible on second and eight from Dallas's 27-yard line. Hasselbeck's pass -- intended for Coles -- was intercepted by cornerback Terence Newman, who hardly moved for the catch.

"They play their defense very well," Coles said. "It's like when you run a route, they're waiting."

Dallas's defense, which remains ranked No. 1 in the NFL, has been the driving force in its turnaround season. The unit held the status despite losing the two previous games by a combined 76-31 against the Miami Dolphins and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Washington didn't looked like it could sink any lower than its Nov. 2 loss in Dallas. In that game, the Cowboys regularly used eight-man fronts -- and occasionally nine-man fronts -- to discombobulate the Redskins. By halftime, Ramsey had been sacked four times and battered myriad other times. It's no wonder the Redskins were caught off-guard yesterday when the Cowboys didn't blitz relentlessly.

The same thing occurred on Nov. 9 against the Seattle Seahawks when defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes shucked his aggressive approach. Ramsey responded with one of his best performances of the season as the Redskins won, 27-20, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Yesterday, the Cowboys relied on pressure from their front four. Hasselbeck was sacked only once but after the final score, the Redskins departed feeling bewildered, battered and beaten.

"This one was bad," wide receiver Rod Gardner said, shaking his head. "This one was real bad."

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yeah, it was 'real bad' as Gardner said, but what is the answer for it? :)

good coaches and good organizations have an answer for something like this.

this club appears to be headed to a two game regression from last year's mediocre 7-9 record and yet the HC has already been promised a third year?

I think the erratic season with the 7 game slide in the middle warrants at least a week or so of review after the season don't you?

About the players not wanting a change: they didn't play well enough this year for their voices to count much in the final equation.

Players always say the coach didn't deserve to be fired, etc... however, isn't it funny how those same players play better and become winners when a Parcells or Vermeil comes to town? :evil:

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Originally posted by TK421CLICKER

Said wideout Darnerien McCants. "We prepared for them to go crazy with blitzes and they didn't."

Washington's offense was so anemic that its highlight occurred on a three-yard completion -- by punter Bryan Barker.

"They play their defense very well," Coles said. "It's like when you run a route, they're waiting."

Poor preparation and adjustments is poor coaching, plain and simple.

And this is the big-play offense that we were led to believe the fun n' gun was all about? :laugh:

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