- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 11, 2002

CHARLOTTE, N.C. The Washington Redskins put on another solid offensive display last night but got bad news for the rest of the preseason when Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels sprained his left ankle.
Samuels' injury came in the second quarter of Washington's 37-30 win over the Carolina Panthers before 60,454 at Ericsson Stadium. The Redskins took a 20-10 halftime lead and extended the edge to 13 points before Panthers backups rallied for three straight touchdowns. Washington defensive Carl Powell won the game with 1:09 left on a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown.
"We were very fortunate to come out ahead in that one," coach Steve Spurrier said. "The Panthers probably outplayed us, outhustled us a little bit. Somehow or another, we made some good plays at the end."
Samuels is expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks but should be back for the Sept.8 regular-season opener against the Arizona Cardinals. X-rays at halftime were negative after he went down on a passing play late in the second quarter.
"I'll be there," Samuels said of the opener.
The Redskins' offense backed up the strong message it sent in an opening 38-7 blowout of the San Francisco 49ers in Osaka, Japan. Spurrier's scheme generated 246 first-half yards, including 193 passing, as quarterback Shane Matthews enjoyed a solid debut in the team's key positional battle.
Matthews played until halftime, completing 17 of 27 passes for 195 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His two series against Carolina's starting defense were better than Rosenfels' two possessions against the 49ers' starters: Matthews went 7-for-13 for 65 yards with an interception, while Rosenfels was 2-for-8 for 22 yards and a pick vs. San Francisco.
"There's a couple plays I'd like to have back," Matthews said. "But for the most part, for my first time back out in a long time, I felt really comfortable running the offense."
Last night Rosenfels played a decent third quarter and led a drive for a field goal. Danny Wuerffel looked sharp in the fourth quarter, when he had his first drive cut short by a key penalty and hit his fourth touchdown pass of the preseason on the second.
Spurrier has not decided who will start against the Pittsburgh Steelers next weekend, saying, "I haven't flipped a coin yet."
The Redskins' starting defense looked solid in its two early possessions, but the first-string nickel unit gave up a 61-yard scoring run to rookie running back DeShaun Foster. Washington's reserves blew the halftime lead as Carolina got a second-half touchdown from wide receiver Anthony Bright and two from quarterback Randy Fasani.
Powell's big play came as Carolina tried to break a 30-30 tie in the final minutes. Safety Ifeanyi Ohalete batted a pass from Mike Watkins at the line of scrimmage, and Powell was in the right place in the backfield for the interception and touchdown.
Washington took a 3-0 lead against the Panthers' starting defense, but an interception by Matthews set up Carolina's field goal to tie the game. The Redskins' field goal on their opening drive made it seven straight possessions (excluding one to end the first half in Japan) on which they scored.
The Redskins, led by strong work on the defensive line, forced Carolina to punt on the game's first possession and then went on a long march. Converting two third downs and a fourth down, Washington drove 74 yards in 18 plays, consuming 9:43, and Brett Conway kicked a 20-yard field goal for the lead.
The Panthers went three-and-out on their second drive ,but the Redskins couldn't take advantage. Matthews threw an interception on third-and-10, hanging a deep throw into double coverage. Cornerback Deron Jenkins made the pick and left Carolina at the Redskins' 33, and the Panthers quickly drove for a field goal against Washington's second-string defense.
The Redskins' starting offensive line stayed on the field with Matthews and several reserves filling in at other skill positions. On a touchdown drive, Washington recovered an early fumble by Kevin Lockett and got a first down when Carolina had 12 men on the field on a punt, and Lockett caught a 22-yard pass for a 10-3 edge.
Lockett crashed into the goalpost on the deep post pattern, hitting it with his head and right shoulder, but seemed unfazed.
The Redskins got another touchdown late in the second quarter. Matthews hit Reidel Anthony for a 5-yard score when Jenkins fell down in coverage. Derrius Thompson had two catches and drew a 23-yard pass interference call on Dante Wesley (the play on which Samuels was injured) as the Redskins drove 69 yards for a 17-3 lead.
Samuels' ankle sprain came with 4:43 left in the second quarter. He laid on the turf for several minutes and had to be helped off without putting pressure on his left foot. Samuels said he had already rolled his left ankle once earlier in the game and feared it was broken when he rolled it a second time.
Among other injuries, starting wide receiver Jacquez Green bruised his ribs, while reserve linebacker Antonio Pierce sprained his right ankle but returned to play.
Just 1:02 later, though, Foster sprinted through many of Washington's starters for a 61-yard touchdown to close the gap to 17-10. The Redskins seemed to take poor angles and get blocked on the long run, and Darrell Green couldn't bring down Foster as he barreled down the left sideline.
Washington went into halftime leading 20-10 when Matthews quickly drove the team for a 43-yard field goal by Dan Frantz. Rosenfels then opened the second half by leading a drive that ended with a 45-yard field goal by Conway that put Washington up 23-10.
The Panthers rallied with a 74-yard touchdown pass from Fasani to Bright, on which cornerback Mark Washington fell down, and a pair of long drives that ended with rushing touchdowns by Fasani. The rookie quarterback took a 3-yard bootleg through safety Andre Lott and jumped over several defenders on a 5-yard run.

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