- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2003

IRVING, Texas — This was supposed to be the renaissance of the Fun ‘n’ Gun offense. Steve Spurrier and Co. had two weeks to revive their faltering attack. Even former Boss Hog Joe Bugel had chipped in during the bye week with some advice on blocking schemes.

But instead of a rebirth, Washington’s offense continued its reversal in a dispiriting 21-14 loss to NFC East leader Dallas.

The defense forced turnovers on the Cowboys’ first three possessions, but the Redskins turned those breaks into just six points — and that lone touchdown came on a drive that began at the Dallas 6. The two previous series didn’t even produce a first down.

“Our defense did a great job of creating turnovers, but we just didn’t capitalize,” left tackle Chris Samuels said. “We knew they would blitz us, [but] they brought more than we had in to block at times. We changed up little things here and there, but for the most part, we stuck with the basics. It was the same old plays.”

And the same old abuse for Patrick Ramsey.

The Redskins’ second-year quarterback added two more injuries to his collection of ailments, a dislocated pinkie on his left, non-throwing hand and a bruised left forearm. Each of those injuries caused him to leave the game temporarily in favor of neophyte backup Tim Hasselbeck.

Ramsey, who threw for more than 340 yards in two of the first three games, didn’t go over 100 yards until 2:37 remained in yesterday’s game. He was sacked four times, all in the first half, and hit hard on several more plays as the Cowboys’ frequent blitzes left the Redskins blockers bamboozled, outnumbered or both.

“It’s frustrating to take the beatings week after week,” said Ramsey, who had been sacked 22 times coming into the game, the second-most in the NFL. “I’m not going to call out any guys. We’re all very frustrated. I can tell you what [defenses] are doing to stop us. They’re blitzing, and we’re not beating it. And until we beat it, they’re going to do it.”

With terrific safeties in Darren Woodson and Roy Williams and swift linebackers in Dexter Coakley and Dat Nguyen, the Cowboys are especially good at blitzing. Those players accounted for all four of Dallas’ sacks, with each recording one.

“They didn’t get to be the best defensive team in the NFL because they can’t play,” Redskins offensive line coach Kim Helton said. “They play one-on-one on the two outside receivers and rush [everybody else]. They’re a good rush team, a good blitz team. We had a little bit of a miscommunication, but most of the time, our guys picked up all the ones that you could pick up.

“You get into a situation where you’ve got the tight end in and both backs in. … You keep your seven in and they rush eight. You keep eight in, they rush nine.”

However things add up, the Redskins’ offense is a shell of the attack that averaged 406 yards, 22 first downs and 33 minutes of possession in winning two of the team’s first three games. Washington’s averages during its current four-game losing streak are 241, 15 and 27:49, and those numbers weren’t even reached yesterday.

“We’re struggling on offense,” Spurrier said. “We thought we had a good, solid game plan. We called maximum protections, but we were just not smart enough to pick [their blitzes] up. We’re having a tough time with protection. Dallas came from places we didn’t think they were coming [from].”

And as Ramsey said, opposing defenses are going to keep coming until the Redskins can plug the holes.


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