Week 1: Jets
Redskins’ fans nationwide were biting their fingernails at game time, waiting to see if the latest big moves by Dan Snyder would pay off. In looking at Mr. Snyder in the booth during the game, he was not as effervescent as usual, looking more nervous. He had watched the same preseason as the rest of the fans, and it did not look good. While there were still issues to be worked out after the game, they were few and far between.
Trung Canidate and Ladell Betts, who was the leading rusher with 77 yards, did fairly well against a team that had to be keying on Canidate due to the shellacking he gave them the last time he played the Jets. Spurrier’s/Jackson’s nice move to alternate the two backs made for a one – two punch, with the quick body blow occasionally by Morton. While the running game was not a barn burner at first, Trung started reeling off larger runs as the game went longer, soon matching Betts’ efforts at 6-7 yards a pop. Until two penalties hit late in the second to last drive, Trung hit two 7-yard runs that looked like potential long breakaways before he was stopped. The offensive line did very well tonight with only a few mistakes. Better, they gave the running backs holes that worked well enough for 3 yard gains at first, slowly expanding to 4 and 5 yard runs. Only a mistake on a check down caused one problem, and a couple of blown audibles resulted in negative plays. For the most part, the run game looked solid.
First, kudos still needs to be extended to the offensive line. They gave Patrick better protection than he saw most of last year. Make no mistake, the Jets have two very good pass rushers in Ellis and Abraham, and the line did well to keep them out most of the game. Be very afraid facing that line in a year, it may be nearly impossible to stop. Ramsey was an incredible 12-13-156 with 1 TD in the first half, and only a drop by Patrick Johnson kept it from being 20 – 10 at the half. Ramsey’s throws were on a rope, and the receivers were catching them like their lives were at stake. Laveranues Coles was far from 'Coleslaw' in this game, catching 5 passes for 106 yards. The only thing to make it a total victory for L.C. would have been if he had gotten a touchdown pass. The second half was rougher for Ramsey as the Jets had obviously made adjustments, but he had a 24-yard run in the closing seconds to move the Skins down in range of Hall for the game winner. He finished with an incredible 73.9% completion percentage for the night. It was an amazing night for the young quarterback and a thrill for fans to watch.
The defense bent, but it did not break. It allowed a touchdown, but only on a fourth and goal from the 1-yard line. The pass coverage was tight enough that Vinny Testeverde was limited to short routes and check down passes, leaving the game with just over 4 yards per completion average. Bruce and Renaldo Wynn shared a quarterback sandwich in a critical stand nearing the end of the game. The line did not exhibit as much pressure sending four down linemen, but they were able to answer some questions on the run defense. While the Jets defense coughed up 160 yards in rushing, the stingy Skins only allowed 57 yards on the ground. The leading receiver, Chrebet, was allowed only 40 yards on 4 catches. All night, the predominant sight was the Redskins stopping the Jets short of the marker on third down with critical tackle after critical tackle. Trotter and Arrington, leading the team with tackles at 7 and 6 respectively were all over the field with massive hits, and Armstead not far behind with 5 tackles. The defense withstood a fumble recovery drive in the fourth quarter allowing only a field goal. Barring a few penalties that can be chalked up to over anxiousness, the defense was superb and well run.
Hall got the Skins on the board. Hall won the game. The kicking game was in good hands on Hall’s capable foot, and it stayed that way for the entire game. The punting was a little short on average due to having to punt inside the 20 two of the three times Barker punted. The coverage was ragged on one kickoff, with people not staying in their lanes saved only by Rashad Bauman twisting the kick returner’s head off by the facemask. One other return, a punt return, was ill covered by the Skins, and Santana Moss almost ran that back as well, but he was finally chased down from behind (In fact Bauman almost got Moss as well, having lost his helmet). All in all, it was a tale of two different teams at times on special teams, but when it counted, it got the job done for the Skins tonight.
This article was released on 2003-09-05.
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