- The Washington Times - Friday, November 29, 2002

THE WASHINGTON TIMES
IRVING, Texas The Washington Redskins defense has been remarkably injury-free this year. Until yesterday.
Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter went down with a sprained right knee on the third play of the second quarter, and defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson suffered a torn right calf muscle with 1:50 left in the third quarter of the Redskins' 27-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium.
Coach Steve Spurrier said Trotter likely will have surgery that almost certainly would end his season. Trotter, whose 101 tackles are 20 more than his closest teammate, left the field on crutches and will have an MRI today. And Wilkinson, who said he heard "a snap" when he was hurt, also could be out for a long period. Wilkinson has started all 78 games of his five-year Washington tenure.
"Kevin Mitchell [who replaced Trotter] has been a starter in this league, but any time you lose a player like Jeremiah it's a blow," linebacker Jessie Armstead said.
Mitchell made one jarring hit on Dallas star halfback Emmitt Smith but also was victimized on several cutback runs and badly misplayed a 23-yard lob from Chad Hutchinson to fullback Robert Thomas.
"I started here the last two years, so it's no big deal for me to get thrown into the middle of the fire, but hopefully it's nothing serious with Jeremiah," Mitchell said.
Carl Powell, who started in Week 2 against Philadelphia in place of the injured Daryl Gardener, replaced Wilkinson.
Armstead also spent some time on the sideline with a bruised left knee, with Lemar Marshall taking his place. Armstead will be re-examined again today, too. Rookie free safety Andre Lott took over in the fourth quarter after David Terrell left with a sore right hamstring. Terrell later returned.
The special teams and offense weren't immune from the sudden injury epidemic. Punter Bryan Barker suffered an open nasal fracture while recovering the ball after James Tuthill's 36-year-old field goal attempt was blocked on the first play of the second quarter. Barker was transported to Baylor Medical Center, where he remained last night. And backup halfback Kenny Watson sprained his left knee.
If Barker can't return for the Dec.8 game against the New York Giants, the Redskins likely will re-sign Craig Jarrett, who was on their practice squad briefly this month.
Defensive end Renaldo Wynn, who was listed as doubtful after straining his groin Sunday against St. Louis, started and made two tackles. Wynn said he was in tremendous pain in the second half, and his status for next week is uncertain.
Bloody wild day for kickers
It was another wild day for Washington's special teams. Late in the first quarter, Kevin Mitchell broke through the Dallas line to block Filip Filipovic's punt, only the Redskins' second block in seven years. Mitchell recovered the ball at the Dallas 25. However, the Redskins failed to take advantage; James Tuthill's 36-yard field goal was blocked by the leaping Flozell Adams on the first play of the second quarter. It was the second kick Tuthill has had blocked in three weeks.
"I thought I hit it well," said Tuthill, who hit nine of his first 10 field goal tries, but five of his last six attempts have missed or been blocked. "It has been a tough four weeks."
What's more, holder Bryan Barker suffered a broken nose in the mad scramble that followed Adams' block and was sidelined for the rest of the game. Tuthill filled in admirably for Barker at first, getting off punts of 53 and 39 yards with no returns, but shanked an 18-yarder with 7:50 remaining.
"I did the best I could, but that last one got away from me," said Tuthill, who hadn't punted since he was in college at Cal-Poly.
Barker's absence as a holder was magnified on Washington's second extra point attempt after his departure. Shane Matthews, who said he had never held in his life, faced the ball's laces toward Tuthill. The miss was Washington's first since Brett Conway against the New York Giants on Sept. 12, 1999, but it was the second failed extra point try in two weeks. Barker botched a hold against St. Louis on Sunday.
Rubbing it in
Cowboys wide receiver Joey Galloway slowly strutted the final 5 yards of his game-winning 41-yard touchdown catch, a move the Redskins say they will remember when the teams meet again in the season finale.
"I was about to explode," defensive end Renaldo Wynn said. "Knowing that you couldn't do anything about it and to watch that, it was just icing on the cake. It just [ticks] you off."
Galloway produced little other than his touchdown reception with 10:05 left, which put the Cowboys up 24-20. He caught just two more passes for 13 yards, limited by one-on-one coverage from Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey.
Bailey estimated that Washington used zone coverage against Galloway on only "three or four plays" all day unfortunately, one of those plays was the score, when rookie safety Andre Lott took a bad angle on Galloway.
"If you catch us in a zone, you can get it to him," Bailey said. "I wish I was locked on him on that touchdown, but I wasn't. Things happen like that. They made a play, and we were in the worst coverage we could be in."
Corners play
Cornerback Fred Smoot played despite a bruised hip he suffered in last weekend's win over St. Louis. He was beaten for a number of passes, including a 29-yard touchdown by Antonio Bryant in the first half, but did a good job just to get on the field. He was limping badly at Redskin Park early in the week.
Smoot said he "didn't turn around and play the ball" on Bryant's touchdown but added that he wasn't limited by the injury.
"I had to play," Smoot said. "Game on the line, I'm going to step up and play."
Also undergoing a stunning recovery from a hip injury was 42-year-old cornerback Darrell Green, who was hurt on one of the final plays against the Rams and managed to return for his final game at Texas Stadium. However, he played only on special teams, having lost his job as the third corner to rookie Rashad Bauman.
Smith still going strong
The NFL's all-time leading rusher did it again against the Redskins.
Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith carried 23 times for 144 yards to lead an impressive 211-yard effort on the ground by Dallas. In 23 meetings with Washington during Smith's Hall of Fame career, he has averaged 105.5 yards and one touchdown.
"Hat's off to the guy," defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson said. "The guy is a warrior."
Watson's giveaway
Running back Kenny Watson gave the Cowboys the game-turning play they needed to start their big rally in the third quarter. He bobbled a third-down pass right to safety Roy Williams, who ran in a 5-yard touchdown to cut Washington's lead to 20-17.
"I should have caught it," Watson said. "The ball came my way. It hit me. It was a mistake, a bad play on my part. We can't give away points like that."
The Redskins were pinned at their 1 on the play, and punter Bryan Barker had been knocked from the game with a broken nose. So coach Steve Spurrier simply was trying to create some space for kicker James Tuthill to punt out of the end zone.
"That was a play we figured we had to throw it out of there," Spurrier said. "It was just a little delay under, and they were in the two-deep, and it went right through his hands. It was unfortunate, but it was one of many plays. That was a big play, but I don't think it was the deciding one."
Smith nears sacks record
For the first seven games of this season, Bruce Smith was looking like the 39-year-old he is. But this month Washington's right defensive end has returned to the Hall of Fame form he displayed for the first 16 years of his career.
Smith's two sacks in the first half yesterday, coupled with his pair at Seattle on Nov.3, gave him four in the past five games after he had gotten to the quarterback just once in the first seven games. The five sacks this season moved Smith within seven of the retired Reggie White's NFL record of 198.
"I would gladly have traded the sacks for a win," Smith said.
Old friends
There's not nearly the cross-pollination between Washington and Dallas that there was when former Cowboys offensive coordinator Norv Turner coached the Redskins from 1994 to 2000, but Dallas left guard Ross Tucker and snapper Jeff Grau were both in training camp with Washington. Redskins linebackers coach George Edwards held that same job for the Cowboys the previous four seasons.
Stai remains sidelined
Guards Brenden Stai and Kipp Vickers, halfback Ladell Betts, receiver Justin Skaggs, tight end Leonard Stephens, defensive end Greg Scott and defensive tackle Bernard Jackson were inactive. Stai started the first five games but has been out since with a knee injury.
Thanksgiving tradition
The game was the sixth between the Redskins and Cowboys on Thanksgiving, and Dallas has won all of them. Dallas' average margin is 11 points.
David Elfin and Jody Foldesy


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