- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2001

The Washington Redskins' offense and defense reversed their identities of repugnant and respectable yesterday. The team finally scored its first touchdown of the season, however, the defense suddenly collapsed.

The previously winless Kansas City Chiefs piled up 546 yards, including 301 in the first half, to capture a 45-13 victory before 76,573 at FedEx Field. New quarterback Tony Banks threw a second-quarter touchdown pass for the Redskins (0-3), but coach Marty Schottenheimer got no relief in his nightmarish start in Washington.

"I'm as disappointed as I've been at any time in my coaching experience," Schottenheimer said. "And I don't think I've ever been through anything like this. But it just deepens my resolve, to be honest with you. It really does. It's going to be a lot of hard work. But if that's all it takes, that will get it done."

Schottenheimer considers the problem to be inconsistency, the inability to get the offense, defense and special teams playing well at the same time. He believes that the team's struggles have dropped it into a vicious cycle in which it cannot gain the confidence crucial to success.

"We're a football team that needs to have some success," Schottenheimer said. "That's what has to happen. And until we have success we're not going to get confidence. Once you have confidence in yourself as a team, when things go sour then you persevere. You're able to get through it. We aren't there at this point."

Several players could be cut by tomorrow but the coach will not alter his staff. Some players believe that the season isn't totally lost but they feel the end could soon come. Owner Dan Snyder was seen talking to players in the post-game locker room for the first time since 1999.

The Chiefs (1-2) scored on seven straight possessions starting late in the first quarter. Washington, after opening losses at San Diego (30-3) and Green Bay (37-0), has been outscored 112-16, the 96-point differential breaks the 1954 record of a 94-point gap through the first three games.

The Redskins are on pace to give up 597 points, which would eclipse the NFL record of the 533 allowed by the 1981 Baltimore Colts. And Washington is in line to score 85 points, easily ducking the 16-game low of 140 by the 1992 Seattle Seahawks. Eighty-five points also would be the NFL's lowest total since teams played 10-game schedules 56 years ago.

Washington's defense hit bottom at the end of the first half when it yielded two touchdown drives in the final 3:39. The possessions went

a combined 130 yards in just 13 plays and put the Chiefs ahead 28-10. Spectators booed the defense at that point, booed a Jumbotron ad featuring Schottenheimer at halftime and began streaming out at the end of the third quarter.

"Our backs are against the wall," defensive lineman Kenard Lang said. "I've got to look in the mirror, see what I can do better. The guy next to me has to look in the mirror. Everybody has to look in the mirror, see what we want to do. If you don't want to play you can go somewhere else. You've got to play hard to be on this team."

End Bruce Smith, a future Hall of Famer, was more to the point.

"It was downright disgusting. I'd like to use a few more adjectives, but I can't," Smith said. "At times like this, it's best if less is said because a person can fly off the handle. We couldn't stop the run. That isn't acceptable. They dictated everything to us. It isn't supposed to be like that. This is really dismal."

Adding to the Redskins' woes is a potentially serious knee injury to weakside linebacker Shawn Barber. The Redskins' defense already was in its first game without left end Marco Coleman (elbow) and strongside linebacker LaVar Arrington (knee), each of whom should be out through this week. In that pair's place defensive tackle Jerry DeLoach lasted just a half in his first career start and rookie linebacker Antonio Pierce did little better.

The Chiefs were led by two players with area ties. Quarterback Trent Green, the Redskins' starter in 1998, hit 21 of 26 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Priest Holmes, a Baltimore Ravens castoff this offseason, rushed 23 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

Banks, who signed Aug. 16 and was elevated Wednesday when Jeff George was cut, completed 11 of 27 passes with one touchdown and one interception. His first half was fairly sharp at 6-for-12 for 67 yards and a score. And as far as Schottenheimer was concerned, Banks' effort was one of too few that could have made the game competitive.

"We needed an equal performance [to Banks'] at other positions," Schottenheimer said. "If we had that, we might have been in better shape."

The Redskins' offense showed an immediate spark with Banks, driving 71 yards on its first possession for a field goal and a 3-0 lead. Banks nearly had touchdown passes on second and third downs from the Chiefs' 12, but each catch, by wide receiver Rod Gardner and tight end Stephen Alexander, was ruled out of bounds. Schottenheimer challenged the ruling on Gardner's play but the call stood.

Washington then got the ball at the Chiefs' 39 after a bad punt, but wide receiver Michael Westbrook couldn't come up with a fourth-and-1 pass from Banks. The Chiefs converted three third downs on the touchdown drive that followed and scored when fullback Tony Richardson barrelled through the middle for 4 yards.

The Redskins' next drive stalled when wide receiver Kevin Lockett was called for offensive pass interference as he converted a third-and-6. Washington punted and Kansas City drove 64 yards in five plays for a 14-3 lead. Holmes caught a swing pass in the left flat to complete the 24-yard score.

Michael Bates responded with a 37-yard kickoff return and Westbrook drew a 31-yard pass interference call on the first play from scrimmage. Gardner followed with the Redskins' first touchdown in 2001, a 26-yard catch on a post route that cut the deficit to 14-10.

Hope was short-lived. The Chiefs drove 60 yards in six plays, with Holmes scoring on a seemingly effortless 7-yard run up the middle, and followed a Redskins three-and-out with a three-play, 70-yard touchdown drive right before halftime. The latter possession began with 32 seconds showing and Kansas City seemingly content to run out the clock with an inside handoff to Holmes. But that play went for 27 yards, and a similar handoff two plays later went for a 24-yard touchdown and a 28-10 lead.

Washington opened the second half with a field goal but Kansas City answered with another touchdown, confirming that the game ended with Holmes' 120 rushing yards in the first half.

"You cannot win in this league if you cannot stop the run," Schottenheimer said. "It is impossible, because you're out there all day."

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