Week 4: The Patriots
By: Rich Hilts 
Posted: 2003-09-29
Category: Washington Redskins News
After a close loss last week, nothing tastes sweeter to a fan than a game that swings the other way. The Redskins, after making the initial mistake of going to a prevent zone, turned the game, seemingly headed for overtime into a victory by playing the great defense fans know they can. Against the Patriots, the Redskins seemed to be firing on all cylinders more than previous weeks, showing their faithful followers that they are maturing quickly.

Passing:

Patrick Ramsey, while not having a stellar, career day, was able to lead the offense to just enough pass production to make the difference while not making mental mistakes. A couple of key drops could have been the difference between a well played ball game by Ramsey and a darn good one. When the passing offense begins hitting plays in stride, it is a thing of beauty to behold, and today was no different. With the game well in hand, however, Spurrier was able to use the running game the way he intends to when his team provides the opportunity. While there were several good plays by the receivers, the Hog Nose would have to be given to Coles. The catch, yes catch, in the 4th quarter that was ruled incomplete was an amazing display of his heart and ability. LC had three steps with the ball in possession, even with his body being contorted by defenders slamming into him, making it a completion in any NFL rules book. The fact that the ball came out due to the impact on the ground after those three steps does not nullify the awesome pass and catch duo leading the NFL. A second Hog Nose would have to go to Rod Gardner, not only for his catches today, but his heads up recovery of Trung’s fumble. His smart play enabled the Skins to escape what could have been a bad situation. While the Fun – N – Gun has been more exciting in prior games, it was much more exciting to be the team in the lead and watching the other team panic in the 4th quarter.

3 Quarters

Rushing:

Although neither back gained an overwhelming amount of yards, both backs were, once again, very active. It was exciting to see Trung and Betts running off tackle and making players from the Patriots miss tackle after tackle. True, the Patriots did not have Ted Washington, but since a majority of the plays were run towards the outside, that may not have had as much consideration as previously thought. The linebacking corps of the Patriots were simply unable to contain the shiftiness of Trung Canidate or the power of Ladell Betts. Understandably, misdirection is a large part of Spurrier’s offense, though it is still questionable that Betts is getting pitches and sweeps when he is noticeably better up the middle, even when the opponents know he is coming. Betts would be the back to get the Hog Nose this week since he showed his ability in the toughest situation – the goal line. He carved through the Patriots’ goal line defense like they were shadows. It should be appreciated that he did not subject the fans to three or four plays at the one as has happened in the past. The runs were well done, and Spurrier shows once again that the critics do not know him as well as they would like to believe.

4 Quarters

Defense:

1 sack. 3 Interceptions. Multiple pressures on Brady. 1 Fumble recovery. Several runs for losses. The stats roll out of the defensive side of this game like a stock ticker. It is amazing and encouraging to see the defense playing this well considering the “no namers” in the middle of the Skins line and how the secondary must have felt getting torched in the Giants game. Yes, there were two touchdowns allowed, though the coverage was good on the first. The second, simply, was a mistake by George Edwards to switch to the fan despised prevent zone coverage, and they got burnt. While the Patriots did manage to run on the Skins more than usual, most of the yardage came on trickier plays meant to burn an aggressive, pursuing defense. The Hog Noses of the game? Ifeyani Ohalete for his interception and game ending pass defense. Champ for his interception and forced fumble. Peppi Zellner for his batted ball and tackles for loss. Rashid Bauman for his interception after getting burnt for a pass earlier. Overall, the defense played well until the coaching staff played it safe in the second half, allowing the Pats to sneak back in. Don’t blame the players for a bad choice in schemes.

3 Quarters

Special Teams:

It was the best of times, it was the wors… ok not the worst. It wasn’t pretty on a blocked field goal, and there were a couple of weak punt coverages that allowed the Patriots decent starting field position, but there were the great punts that allowed the Skins to get downfield and stop the returns or pin the Patriots on the seven. The kick – offs were very good with several going into the end zone, including one run out by the Pats. The Skins made them pay for that with good coverage and tackled the return man on the 15. Morton had some good kick returns and a nice punt return, even with his blocking disintegrating in front of his eyes. Hall had a good day with two of three field goals made, and the Hog Nose would have to go, once again to him. Not just for the points that once again made the difference in the end, but for the stupendous tackle on the sidelines, saving a touchdown. Now the fans can understand why Lavar would let Hall wear his jersey. It does appear that the special teams might be looking more special as the year moves on.

3 Quarters

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