- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 14, 2005

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two tests, two poor grades for Washington’s retooled offense.

A week after looking listless in a scrimmage in Baltimore, the Redskins’ starters had their only downfield pass picked off and didn’t come close to scoring on five possessions in a 28-10 loss to Carolina last night in each team’s preseason opener.

“We’ve obviously got a long ways to go,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “We made a lot of mistakes.”

Quarterback Patrick Ramsey’s second pass and only deep one was underthrown and intercepted by Chris Gamble at the Carolina 33.

“It came off my hand terribly, floated up there, and I would have been lucky not to get it picked off,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey’s mistake was magnified when the Panthers followed with a nine-play, 67-yard drive against the Redskins’ injury-depleted defense that ended with a leaping 21-yard touchdown catch by receiver Rod Gardner, whom the Redskins dealt to the Panthers last month for a sixth-round draft pick.

“I loved it,” Gardner said. “I wasn’t playing more than a quarter, so I had to do it fast.”

The Redskins came up a yard short of a first down on their second series when, shades of the NFL’s third-worst offense of 2004, Ramsey threw short of the marker to new No.1 receiver Santana Moss.

Ramsey completed four straight passes on the next series, but they were all nickel-and-dime stuff that backup running back Ladell Betts, starting H-back Chris Cooley and running back Rock Cartwright turned into gains of between 9 and 16 yards to give Washington a first down at the Carolina 40. But then Ramsey hurried a ball for Moss and badly missed new No.2 receiver David Patten out of the shotgun.

Ramsey couldn’t hook up with Patten on his only pass of the fourth possession, and after smartly finding Patten for 11 yards to start the fifth series, the fourth-year quarterback brought back more bad memories of 2004 by throwing to Cartwright for just 5 yards on third-and-7. Ramsey wound up 8-for-12 for 77 yards, but his performance was not nearly as impressive as his 66.7 percent accuracy.

“You lose, you’re disappointed,” Ramsey said. “You don’t score, you’re disappointed. As we progress, I’m sure it’s going to get better. I’m not discouraged about the offense.”

Running back Clinton Portis nicely cut back for 4 yards on his only carry. Backup Ladell Betts managed just 10 yards on four carries as the running game didn’t show much either.

Washington’s starting defense, minus ailing regulars Phillip Daniels (wrist), Cornelius Griffin (shoulder), LaVar Arrington (knee) and Shawn Springs (hamstring), held Carolina to 14 yards on its second and last series before calling it a night.

Demetric Evans, Ryan Boschetti, Warrick Holdman and Ade Jimoh were the fill-in starters, while assistant head coach Gregg Williams surprisingly opened with newcomers Pierson Prioleau and Omar Stoutmire over holdovers Matt Bowen and Ryan Clark at the safeties.

Backup defensive tackle Cedric Killings blocked John Kasay’s 39-yard field goal try with 49 seconds left in the half. Safety Sean Taylor, demoted to the third team after skipping the entire offseason, picked up the ball and ran 18 yards before lateraling it on what was ruled an illegal forward pass.

John Hall’s 43-yard field goal five plays later drew the Redskins within 14-3 as time expired.

No.2 quarterback Mark Brunell drove Washington 82 yards in 14 plays with rookie fullback Nehemiah Broughton bulling over from the 1 to close the gap to 14-10 with 1:30 left in the third quarter.

First-round draft pick Jason Campbell relieved Brunell in the fourth quarter. Receiver Jimmy Farris slipped and couldn’t reach the rookie’s first rifled throw. Then Campbell and running back Brock Forsey botched a handoff that was recovered by the Panthers.

Campbell completed fine passes to veteran Kevin Dyson and Farris on his second series but telegraphed his third-and-2 throw, which was batted away. Campbell was sharp on his third chance, hitting his first four passes for 68 yards, but rookie runner Jonathan Combs fumbled before crossing the goal line with 2:05 left. Campbell finished 10-for-19 for 132 yards and an interception on his last play.

Stefan LeFors, Carolina’s fourth-round draft pick, added a 1-yard touchdown pass to Drew Carter and a 24-yarder to Aaron Boone in the fourth quarter for the Panthers’ final scores.

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