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American Football: Ramsey looks rusty

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posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 11:16 AM
Long after Mark Brunell made his move in the Washington Redskins' quarterbacks competition, the Carolina Panthers ruined a weird homecoming for Joe Gibbs.

John Kasay kicked a 52-yard field goal with 7:31 left in overtime, lifting the defending NFC champions to a 23-20 victory Saturday night.

Kasay's kick followed Carolina's fourth interception of the game, the second against third-stringer Tim Hasselbeck. The first one set up a 37-yard field goal by Kasay with 23 seconds left in regulation, forcing overtime.

Gibbs coached the Redskins for 12 years through 1992, when they played their home games at RFK Stadium in Washington. He signed on for another stint in January, and although the Redskins now play at FedEx Field, Gibbs spoke excitedly about coaching again in front of the home fans in the days leading up to the game.

But walking the sideline at FedEx Field turned out to be an odd sensation.

"I think this first go-round was certainly different for me," Gibbs said. "I haven't been here coaching in this stadium. It was a little bit strange."

Unfortunately, the stadium was half-empty because of wet weather, and the Redskins provided little to cheer about until Brunell's 61-yard touchdown pass to Darnerien McCants in the third quarter tied the game at 10.

Brunell's numbers weren't spectacular: 6-for-15 for 119 yards and an interception. But he led the Redskins to 10 points after starter Patrick Ramsey (4-for-11, 62 yards, 1 INT) produced only three first downs in five series.

"I don't know, so much is made of that right now," Brunell said of the duel at quarterback. "That isn't a concern. The coaches will make those decisions. We don't control that. The focus right now is getting our offense on track."

Ramsey, who came in relief of Brunell in the Redskins' 20-17 victory over Denver on Monday, has yet to direct a scoring drive during the preseason.

"It was rough tonight," Ramsey said. "I played about as badly as I can remember playing in a long time. I've got to improve."

Playing for the first time since the Super Bowl, the Panthers used their starters for only the first quarter. Third-string quarterback Chris Weinke threw two third-quarter touchdown passes to second-round draft pick Keary Colbert, covering 42 and 68 yards.

"This is something I've been wanting to do for a long period of time," Colbert said. "But my work is not complete. It's one game, one day. There's a lot of work for me to do."

That's pretty much how coach John Fox assessed the Panthers' progress.

"It wasn't up to par, but that's why they call it preseason," Fox said.

Carolina's Stephen Davis, who played for Washington two years ago, ran for 28 yards on seven carries. Jake Delhomme went 4-for-8 for 44 yards before leaving with the Panthers up 3-0.

Backup Rodney Peete was intercepted by Todd Franz midway through the second quarter, and Brunell entered for the first time. He promptly completed a 24-yard pass to rookie Chris Cooley, setting up a field goal by John Hall.

The Redskins stumbled from the outset, when James Thrash and Gari Scott bumped shoulder pads while settling under the opening kickoff. On first down, Ramsey fumbled the snap, and Portis was stopped for no gain. Ramsey then threw a pass that should have been intercepted, but Carolina safety Colin Branch dropped the wet football.

Minutes later, a Carolina punt hit flat-footed back judge Steve Freeman at the 1 and was downed at the 2, putting Ramsey in a deep hole for his second series.

On second down Ramsey again fumbled the snap, and Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels grabbed the ball at the 1. But a 19-yard punt return by Steve Smith gave Carolina possession at the Washington 31, and Kasay kicked a field goal after the Panthers were stuffed on three runs from inside the 5.

Ramsey completed a pass to Laveranues Coles for 34 yards late in the quarter. Two plays later, however, Dante Wesley intercepted Ramsey's underthrown pass.

Redskins running back Clinton Portis left early in the second quarter after gaining 15 yards on five carries. In two games, he's rushed for 26 yards on nine attempts.


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