- The Washington Times - Monday, December 13, 2004

Shawn Springs and the Redskins’ defense were dealt a scary blow against the Eagles last night when the cornerback was carted off the field.

Springs was knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion, according to the Redskins, when he was crushed by Eagles fullback Josh Parry’s blindside block early in the fourth quarter of Philadelphia’s 17-14 victory at FedEx Field.

A native of Silver Spring and a graduate of Springbrook High School, Springs was leveled by Parry on a scramble by Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Springs appeared to be hit high, above the chest, and lay motionless on the turf for several minutes near the sideline as players from both teams quietly observed. Redskins coach Joe Gibbs even came over to check the situation.

Springs, who signed as a free agent from the Seattle Seahawks and was having an outstanding season, managed to wave to the crowd as he was carted off.

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Springs ended an Eagles drive by intercepting a McNabb pass after safety Sean Taylor tipped the ball. It was Springs’ fourth interception of the season, tops on the team.

Although he was called for a pass interference penalty in the first quarter, a play that netted the Eagles 47 yards and led to their first touchdown, Springs helped limit Terrell Owens, the Eagles’ outstanding wide receiver, to six receptions for 46 yards and no scores. Owens came into the game with 69 catches for 1,140 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Oldie but goody

Redskins offensive tackle Ray Brown not only celebrated his 42nd birthday, he became the oldest lineman — offensive or defensive — to play in the NFL in 83 years.

The last to do it was John Nesser, a 42-year-old lineman who played for the Columbus Panhandles in 1921.

Assuming he starts for the rest of the season, Brown’s four starts at 42 will equal the same number as former Redskins cornerback Darrell Green. Several kickers have done it but hardly any position players. Seahawks wide receiver Jerry Rice is 42 but is not considered a starter.

Brown, a 19-year veteran, was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1986 and came to Washington for his first term in 1989 as a Plan B free agent. He did not become a regular until 1993. Since then he has missed only one game (in 1997) during a career that also included stops in San Francisco and Detroit. Brown returned to the Redskins this season.

To celebrate his birthday and his milestone, Brown spent much of the game lined up opposite Eagles sackmaster Jevon Kearse.

Kearse applied heat to quarterback Patrick Ramsey but had no sacks.

Making it work

Redskins assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams has had to patch and fill all season with replacement parts, but it still hasn’t prevented Williams’ unit from rising to elite status in the NFL. Going into last night’s game, the Redskins were ranked No.2 in total defense.

It was more of the same against the Eagles as the Redskins managed to control one of the league’s hottest offenses.

With end Ryan Boschetti and tackle Brandon Noble in the lineup, the Redskins started five undrafted free agents on defenses. The pair joined linebackers Antonio Pierce and Lemar Marshall and safety Ryan Clark.

This was the first career start for Boschetti, who played two seasons at UCLA after transferring from junior college. He spent most of the season on the practice squad before being activated before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Boschetti made an impression during that game by recording four tackles.

Boschetti replaced Ron Warner, who was listed as the starter after defensive Phillip Daniels was lost for the season with a dislocated left wrist against the Giants last week.

Pierce, meanwhile, continued his stellar play as a replacement for free agent signee Mike Barrow, who went on injured reserve without playing a down. Early in the second quarter, Pierce prevented the Eagles from scoring when he forced Terrell Owens to fumble, then recovered on the Washington 6.

Not getting his kicks

Since starting the season 7-for-9 on field goal attempts, it has been a frustrating season for Redskins kicker John Hall.

Hall suffered a groin injury the week of the Chicago Bears game and missed five straight games. He was temporarily replaced by Ola Kimrin. Hall returned to face Pittsburgh and kicked off and made an extra-point and kicked a 46-yard field goal last week against the Giants. But he missed a 43-yard attempt against the Eagles late in the first half that would have given the Redskins a 10-7 lead.

Consistent

With 12 receptions against the Eagles, Redskins wide receiver Laveranues Coles now has 76 for the season, the third straight year in which he has had more than 70 catches. Coles has been playing all year with a stress fracture in his right big toe and also has suffered finger and hip injuries. His career high for catches in a season is 89 with the New York Jets in 2002.

Birds bugged

The Eagles suffered several more injuries along the defensive line. Starting tackle Corey Simon left the game early in the first quarter with a back injury, and tackle Hollis Thomas, a key reserve, followed Simon to the bench shortly thereafter with a dislocated elbow. Neither returned. Going into the game, the Eagles were missing starting defensive end Derrick Burgess and reserve end Jerome McDougle.

One of the Eagles’ replacements, defensive tackle Paul Grasmanis, saw extensive action in his return to the field for the first time since Sept. 14, 2003. He had been out with an Achilles’ tendon injury.

Not yet

Eagles kicker David Akers missed a 48-yard field goal late in the first half and also missed a chance at making history, at least for the moment. Akers came into the game with 16 field goals from 40 yards or more this season; no one has kicked 17. Akers, whose string of 15 straight field goals was snapped, shares the record with Indianapolis’ Cary Blanchard (1996) and Green Bay’s Ryan Longwell (2000).

Redskins inactives

Linebacker LaVar Arrington, who practiced this week but is still recovering from a knee injury, missed his 11th straight game. Other inactives included offensive linemen Mark Wilson and Jim Molinaro, defensive linemen Cedric Killings and Demetric Evans, wide receiver Antonio Brown and cornerback Garnell Wilds.

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