- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2001

PACKERS 37, REDSKINS 0

GREEN BAY, Wis. The Washington Redskins returned from the NFL's terrorist-induced hiatus to a patriotic, emotionally charged setting on "Monday Night Football." For the potentially memorable occasion, they brought the utterly forgettable passing offense that is quickly becoming their trademark.

The Redskins passed for just 15 yards through the first three quarters and gained just 72 yards overall to that point, including 2 in the third period in a 37-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Before an animated crowd of 59,771 at Lambeau Field, Washington's defense held up into the second half but finally collapsed in the third quarter.

New coach Marty Schottenheimer started 0-2 for the first time in the 15 seasons he has started in charge of a club, and the Redskins, after dropping their opener 30-3 at San Diego, failed to score a touchdown in the first two games of a season for the first time in franchise history. The Packers (2-0), meanwhile, continued to show they might be the team to beat in the NFC Central.

"That's obviously not what we were expecting to do," Schottenheimer said. "We're disappointed. We've got some things we need to solve, because you can't go out in that fashion and expect to win. And we expect to win."

Worsening Washington's night were two potentially key injuries: Linebacker LaVar Arrington sprained his right knee in the first quarter, and defensive end Marco Coleman dislocated his right elbow in the third. Both will undergo further evaluations today. Coleman could be out for several weeks. Arrington said after the game that he felt some looseness in his knee.

In addition, cornerback Donovan Greer appeared to suffer a torn ACL in the second quarter. Rookie cornerback Fred Smoot also took a knee to the head in that period but quickly returned.

Spectators were given small American flags as they entered the game. Waving those flags and chanting "USA!" during the pregame raised the level of excitement. As the stadium sang the national anthem in unison, players joined the group holding a flag in the shape of the country at midfield.

But the Redskins' offense couldn't play to the occasion. Washington finished with 137 total yards. Running back Stephen Davis looked fairly sharp with 13 carries for 65 yards, but George completed just 15 of 24 passes for 102yards with an interception.

"We're just killing ourselves," tight end Stephen Alexander said. "It's unbelievable. We've gone eight quarters and kicked one field goal. I've never been a part of an offense that struggled like this."

Providing a stark contrast was the Packers' offensive duo of quarterback Brett Favre and running back Ahman Green. Favre hit 20 of 31 passes for 236 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, while Green resumed his status as the NFL's top rusher by carrying 25 times for 116 yards.

Washington trailed 10-0 after the first half. Its defense held despite giving up 217 yards, and its offense continued to sputter with just 70 yards and three first downs.

George's third interception of the season set up a Packers field goal early in the third quarter. George was looking for Rod Gardner, but linebacker Nate Wayne made a leaping pick while playing several yards underneath. Coleman was injured two plays into Green Bay's 2-yard drive, and Packers kicker Ryan Longwell hit a 32-yard field goal for a 13-0 lead.

The critical blow came with 6:34 remaining in the period, when Favre hit wide receiver Bill Schroeder on a quick slant that turned into a 41-yard touchdown when Schroeder blew past cornerback Champ Bailey. Green Bay led by an unassailable 20-0 at that point, though Favre tacked on another scoring pass. Michael Bates' fumble in the closing moments turned into a 37-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Rondell Mealey.

The Packers needed to drive just 42 yards for the game's first score, with Favre hitting wide receiver Antonio Freeman for a 12-yard touchdown over the middle. Strong safety Sam Shade got turned around, and Favre's pass was just high enough for Freeman to stretch and make a nice catch.

Arrington was injured with 2:01 left in the quarter, when he and Bruce Smith were trying to sack Favre on third-and-10. Smith landed on Arrington's leg as he dove for Favre. The second-year linebacker returned on the next series but quickly re-exited the game for further evaluations and did not come back again.

The Redskins defense held until Green had consecutive rushes of 13, 10 and 9 yards midway through the second quarter. Levens added a 13-yard rush to the Redskins 11, but a 3-yard tackle-for-loss by linebacker Shawn Barber on first down helped keep Green Bay out of the end zone. Longwell's 28-yard field goal put the Packers up 10-0 with 3:10 left in the half.

The Packers threatened to score in the half's final moments, but the Redskins defense came through with 22 seconds left. Free safety David Terrell nailed Favre on a blitz, and the pass came out underthrown into double coverage. Smoot intercepted the ball in the end zone, his second pick in as many games.

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