The Fifth Quarter – Ravens
Posted: Sep 02 2005
By Scott Hurrey
After 3 quarters of nearly flawless football, the Washington Redskins appeared to have locked up their second victory of the 2005 NFL preseason. However, in the fourth quarter the team fell apart. Though the Redskins drove the length of the field in 1:46 to tie the game and take it to overtime, the Ravens put the Redskins away quickly in overtime to steal the win from the clutches of the Redskins' faithful.
Patrick Ramsey only lasted two uneventful series in which the Ravens defense was good and the Redskin quarterback appeared shaky. Ramsey was sacked twice and seemed a bit off target, and the offense sputtered as a result. The good news was that Ramsey didn't throw any interceptions.
Mark Brunell looked sharp again; his mobility and renewed arm strength helped him to get the offense rolling. In the second quarter, Jimmy Farris introduced himself to Redskin fans as Brunell lobbed a pass to him on the right side of the end zone, giving the Redskins a 10-3 lead. Antonio Brown got open early and often, but unfortunately for the second-year man out of West Virginia, he was unable to bring in any passes. His most spectacular drop came on a fly pattern in which he blew the Ravens secondary away, only to have Brunell's pass bounce off of his face mask. As a return specialist looking to get time on offense, he has to make plays, but Brown was 0-6.
Redskins' fans got their first extended look at Jason Campbell last night, with mixed results. Campbell made a few rookie mistakes, but also was able to drive the Redskins' offense. He hit Jimmy Farris for a 34-yard strike in the third quarter, and also put together a drive resulting in a game-tying field goal, which sent the game into overtime. Unfortunately, he also threw two picks and committed four penalties: one for intentional grounding, two for delay of game, and one illegal forward pass. Campbell will learn from experience and eventually will be able to cut down on the mistakes. Without them, he has a bright future with the Washington Redskins.
Clinton Portis only carried the ball twice – for 16 yards. If Portis can maintain his preseason per-carry average, the Redskins will have no choice but to win. He has been spectacular in the limited action he has seen and Thursday night was no different. Between Portis' talent and the domination of the trenches by the new Hogs, the Washington Redskins' running game should not be an issue this year.
With Ladell Betts out because of the injury sustained on the somehow legal horse-collar tackle during last week's Pittsburgh Steelers game, Rock Cartwright and Nemo Broughton got the chance to battle in this game. It will be difficult for the coaching staff to cut either one of these guys. They have both performed well running the ball, catching the ball out of the backfield and playing special teams. This week's game was no different.
The Redskins starting defense gave up 18 yards and no first downs. End of story.
Rufus Brown played himself off the roster last night, with costly penalties and the inability to cover Randy Hymes. However, other than Brown, even the back-ups were able to shut down Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright for most of the evening. It was the unlikely hero Derek Anderson, Baltimore's third string rookie quarterback, who was able to run the offense most effectively. Unfortunately, while they played well for most of the game, in the end they blew it. So, they receive 1 quarter for each quarter of football that they played well for.
The special teams unit has been unbelievable thus far, and last night was no different. Antonio Brown continued his solid performance in return duty, and rookie Rich Parson had two electrifying returns that were each one broken tackle away from pay dirt. The coverage units were steady as well, blocking a field goal in the first quarter and giving up only one large return, which was negated by an illegal block in the back penalty. Speaking of penalties: the Redskins committed five penalties on punts, and that will certainly be a sore spot for Coach Smith going into the season opener.
Chris Mohr got the majority of the punting opportunities last night, and after a rough start he was able to get things going. Andy Groom is certainly the better punter, but the thought was that he may not be experienced enough to hold for big kicks. Groom quieted those doubts with a solid hold for the game-tying field goal as time expired. Groom was pushing Tupa for the job before, and with Tupa out for the season, Groom has got to have the upper hand.
In the kicking game, what can be said other than the obvious: that John Hall is one of the best kickers in the league? He was true to form, kicking a last second field goal right down the middle of the goal posts to force overtime.
Now that the preseason is over, the Redskins head into the regular season, and seem to have the pieces in place to vastly improve their 6-10 record from a year ago. Look out Bears, the 'Skins defense, special teams, offensive line, and running game are firing on all cylinders—and the passing game is getting closer.
Note: Redskins' rookie H-back Manual White ended a tough summer last night with a broken fibula. White was making the difficult transition from college running back to NFL H-back, and, unfortunately for him, this injury will set that transition back quite a bit.