Week 17: Cowboys
The Redskins had another solid day on the ground with over 150 yards rushing between Ladell Betts and Kenny Watson. Once again the rookie RB's split the load evenly carrying the ball 17 times each. Watson had 58 yards and a touchdown while Betts added 98 yards. Unfortunately Betts fumbled the ball going into the end zone, nullifying a touchdown, on a brilliant 24 yard run and lessened an otherwise stellar performance. Fumble aside, the young backs have shown themselves to be capable backs in Steve Spurrier's offense the last two weeks. The offensive line continues to improve and Jon Jansen's new contract seems to have reminded him that he is one of the best right tackles in the league.
Rookie Patrick Ramsey earned his second straight win as an NFL starter and did something no Redskins' quarterback has done since 1997 - beat the Dallas Cowboys. The kid closed out his rookie season on a high note as he put up 209 yards going 17 for 31 and was only sacked once. Turnovers from the passing game, four of them, could have very easily have cost the Skins though. Ramsey threw two interceptions, one returned 85 yards for a touchdown by Cowboys rookie safety Roy Williams, and they also fumbled the ball twice (Ramsey, Derrius Thompson). Darnerian McCants had perhaps his strongest game of the year with 6 catches for 60 yards and Thompson continued to put up solid numbers for Washington with 78 yards on 4 catches, largely due to a brilliant 40 yard gain to start the second half.
Emmitt Smith - the man who has posted 12 100 yard games against our beloved Redskins' defense over his career - needed just 38 yards to enjoy his 12th consecutive 1000 yard season. He would get only 13 of those yards. After dominating Washington again and again... Emmitt was finally stuffed. Carl Powell and Daryl Gardener both had huge games inside at DT as they held Dallas to a phenomenal 38 yards rushing on 22 attempts. The defense also provided one of the Skins 3 touchdowns on the day. With Dallas backed up in their own end, Bruce Smith blasted past Flozell Adams for his 8th sack and Lavar Arrington recovered the Chad Hutchison (12 of 23, 189 yards) fumble in the end zone. it was one of four fumble recoveries on the day for the defense. One note of concern - Fred Smoot was beat repeatedly by Antonio Bryant. Bryant posted an amazing 170 of the Cowboys 189 total receiving yards, most of them on Smoot.
The defense may not have been the dominating force that was expected of them in 2002, but they have shown that they're not far from becoming one.
A funny thing happened on the way to FedEx Field on Sunday... the Redskins remembered how to play Special Teams. Actually, the special teams had a good day, albeit against one of the few ST squads in the league worse than our own. Jose Cortez kicked two field goals (38 and 22 yards) and more importantly... didn't blow any attempts. Champ Bailey actually fielded punts a little better, and ripped off an exciting 38 yard return. But it was Darrell Green's punt return reverse that made Special Teams play special on Sunday. At 42 years old, Darrell amazingly took a handoff from Bailey on a reverse and started beating Cowboys defenders. The crowd leapt to their feet, the players crowded the sideline, and everyone took a deep breath as Darrell took off and even leaped over a Cowboy defender on his way down the field. Everyone screamed their approval as he was finally brought down after a 35 yard pick-up. Green said after, " That play was awesome. I thought I was going to go all the way. I even had the little 'jump over.' I'm glad my son got to see it -- The Dad can still do it." You ceratinly can Darrell..
This article was released on 2002-12-29.
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