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New York at Washington

Ramsey scrambles Redskins past Jets in opener

SportsLine.com wire reports

LANDOVER, Md. -- John Hall gave the JetSkins just what they wanted Thursday night.

Hall kicked a 33-yard field goal with five seconds to play, giving the Washington Redskins a 16-13 victory over the New York Jets in the NFL's season opener.

Hall, one of four Jets free agents signed by Redskins owner Dan Snyder in the offseason, also made kicks of 50 and 22 yards as each of the so-called JetSkins did his part in a grudge match created by an offseason player tug-of-war.

"Thank goodness Mr. Snyder went out and got us a heck of a kicker," said coach Steve Spurrier, who went through three kickers last year. "The way our kicking situation was last year, I don't see us winning this game."

Patrick Ramsey, not the most nimble quarterback in the world, set up the winning score with a 24-yard scramble to New York's 31-yard line. Ladell Betts carried three times for 17 yards to wind down the clock for Hall's attempt.

Hall said he dreamed about making that kick during "the whole offseason."

"It's pretty much one of those stupid things you do when you're done practicing," Hall said. "You make up those situations where you have this or that -- and I'm sure you know which team it was against."

Guard Randy Thomas, also one of the JetSkins, was on the field blocking for the winning field goal.

"To see those guys with their faces down when the kick went in, it was a lovely feeling," Thomas said.

Laveranues Coles also made sure his old team noticed him, dancing and scowling his way for 106 yards receiving on five catches -- all in the first half. Chad Morton was solid in his debut as the Redskins' return man, and Thomas' blocking paved the way for an attack that went surprisingly conservative in the second half.

Ramsey completed 17 of 23 passes for 185 yards, but only 29 yards came after halftime. He also turned over the ball twice in the second half, setting up two Jets field goals that tied the game.

Vinny Testaverde, returning to the starting job after a preseason wrist injury to Chad Pennington, completed 15 of 24 passes for 105 yards for New York.

Of the four ex-Jets, Coles was the only one to voice any real animosity toward his former team during training camp. He danced for the New York sideline after one catch and jawed a few feet from the bench after another. But he wasn't heard from again after halftime.

Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was a terror, chasing down players in the flat to turn potential long gains into short ones. His stats -- six tackles and one batted passes -- didn't begin to show the difference he made.

The game, the NFL's second annual Thursday night opener, was preceded by a three-hour concert on the Washington Mall featuring Britney Spears, Aerosmith, Mary J. Blige and Aretha Franklin. Hundreds of thousands attended the bash, which also paid tribute to U.S. troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In an odd moment of juxtaposition, President Bush spoke of leadership and teamwork and asked, "Are you ready for some football?" in a videotaped message played on the stadium scoreboard just as a scantily dressed Spears was finishing her performance on the Mall a few miles away.

Neither team showed big-game jitters early on. There were only two penalties and no turnovers in the first half that consisted of long, systematic drives.

But the game got more sloppy in the second half.

The JetSkins made their presence known right away. Morton returned the opening kickoff 23 yards. Coles made a 25-yard catch over the middle and celebrated with a mini-dance. Thomas helped pave the way for the 12-play drive capped by Hall's first field goal.

But the Jets went all the way on their opening drive, with coach Herman Edwards successfully gambling on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. He took top rusher Curtis Martin out and gave the ball to LaMont Jordan, who leaped over the pile and into the end zone.

Spurrier did his own fourth-and-1 trick on the next drive, with Betts converting with a short run at the Jets 27. Darnerien McCants finished the drive with a 4-yard TD catch to put Washington ahead 10-7.

Coles went over the 100-yard receiving mark on the next drive. Ramsey somehow ducked under blitzing linebacker Mo Lewis and found Coles for a 48-yard gain over backup safety Tyrone Carter, who entered after Jon McGraw left with a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet tackle.

Coles jawed at the sidelines after that catch, then gave an emphatic "first down" sign after a 22-yard reception two plays later. The catch set up Hall's 22-yard field goal, making the halftime score 13-7.

The Redskins certainly didn't look like a Spurrier team in the second half. The Fun 'n' Gun turned cautious, tentative and run-oriented, as if the coach were trying to run out the clock with more than a quarter to play.

Ramsey was nearly perfect in the first half -- 12-for-13 for 156 yards -- but his second pass of the second half was intercepted by Donnie Abraham and returned to Washington's 26. The Jets couldn't punch it in, however, settling for Doug Brien's 30-yard field goal.

Ramsey's second turnover set up another field goal that tied the score in the fourth quarter. John Abraham, who had two sacks, stripped Ramsey of the ball, and Jason Ferguson recovered at Washington's 43. Five plays later, Brien made a 41-yard field goal with 8:13 to play.


  • Washington's Bruce Smith was credited with one-half sack in the fourth quarter, moving him within 2½ of Reggie White's all-time record.
  • Washington center Larry Moore, who missed three games during the preseason with a knee injury, limped off the field in the fourth quarter.
  • Snyder finally won another game in the national spotlight: The Redskins are now 2-7 in non-Sunday games since he bought the team in 1999.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
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Quarterback Patrick Ramsey completes 17 of 23 passes in a strong opener.
Quarterback Patrick Ramsey completes 17 of 23 passes in a strong opener. (AP)


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Scoring Summary
FGJohn Hall 50 Yd, 8:56. Drive: 12 plays, 39 yards in 6:04.
TDLaMont Jordan, 1 Yd run (Doug Brien kick is good), 1:59. Drive: 14 plays, 72 yards in 6:57.
TDDarnerien McCants, 4 Yd pass from Patrick Ramsey (John Hall kick is good), 8:21. Drive: 14 plays, 74 yards in 8:38.
FGJohn Hall 22 Yd, 2:41. Drive: 8 plays, 84 yards in 4:02.
FGDoug Brien 30 Yd, 7:35. Drive: 7 plays, 13 yards in 3:04.
FGDoug Brien 41 Yd, 8:13. Drive: 5 plays, 19 yards in 2:33.
FGJohn Hall 33 Yd, 0:05. Drive: 6 plays, 47 yards in 2:11.
New York
V. Testaverde15/2410500
C. Martin1548012
S. Moss1909
L. Jordan6012
W. Chrebet440014
C. Conway228017
J. Sowell220012
A. Becht212011
S. Moss31207
C. Martin2-70-3
P. Ramsey17/2318511
L. Betts1877011
T. Canidate104609
P. Ramsey227024
C. Morton3606
R. Cartwright1404
L. Coles5106048
R. Gardner532010
R. Royal224020
Z. Flemister1606
C. Morton1505
L. Betts1404
B. Johnson1404
D. McCants1414
Complete Player Stats