- The Washington Times - Monday, October 13, 2003

Steve Spurrier had seen enough.

His quarterback, Patrick Ramsey, had just been collared and pulled to the ground by Tampa Bay Buccaneers nose tackle Anthony McFarland. As he fell, Ramsey unloaded a desperation pass that was intercepted by linebacker Derrick Brooks and returned 44 yards for the final touchdown of a 35-13 Bucs rout of the Washington Redskins.

The pickoff midway through the fourth-quarter brought an end to a very tough day for the Redskins quarterback: Ramsey was sacked four times, brought down hard about as many times, picked off twice and generally beaten, battered and bruised.

For Spurrier, that was it. The Redskins coach pulled Ramsey and sent in backup Rob Johnson for the first time this season.

“Because I thought we couldn’t catch ‘em,” Spurrier said when asked why Ramsey was pulled. “He wanted to go back in. I said, ‘No, I don’t want you to get beat up any more than you are. Let’s rest up and fight another day.’”

Six games into the season, the protection for Ramsey is not getting any better.

Ramsey entered yesterday’s game as the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL with 17. The Bucs not only sacked Ramsey four times but also sacked Johnson twice after Ramsey was benched. Defensive end Simeon Rice finished with four, and defensive tackle Warren Sapp notched his first two of the season.

One of Rice’s sacks came against left tackle Chris Samuels. Tight end Robert Royal failed to block Rice on another, rookie left guard Derrick Dockery didn’t pull on a third, and running back Ladell Betts failed to chip Rice on a fourth.

In other words, it was — once again — a collective breakdown.

“I’m concerned about our blocking,” Spurrier said. “Patrick’s a tough young man. He’s able to avoid them a little bit. But we had some pressures. … Hopefully we can block a little better as we go through the season. If not, we’ll be in trouble.”

Ramsey was pressured on both of his interceptions. On the first, he underthrew Rod Gardner deep; on the other, he pretty much tossed it right to Brooks. He said the Bucs didn’t do anything unexpected with their vaunted defense — they sat back in coverage and let their front four wreak havoc, as usual.

“They do a good job up front, pressuring with their front four,” Ramsey said. “Sometimes they don’t really have to blitz.”

Ramsey said his left shoulder, which has been sprained twice this season, was “OK.”

Royal injures hip

Already thin at the tight end position, the Redskins lost starter Robert Royal yesterday to an undisclosed right hip injury that had him leaving FedEx Field on crutches.

He was hurt when he surrendered a first-quarter sack and fumble. Royal and just-signed veteran Byron Chamberlain represent the Redskins’ entire corps of active tight ends.

Tampa Bay’s Simeon Rice beat Royal one-on-one, blindsided quarterback Patrick Ramsey, knocked the ball loose and then recovered the fumble at the Washington 45.

“I tried to turn back inside and push on him,” Royal said. “That’s when I twisted my body.”

Royal left the game and retreated to the locker room for X-rays, which came back inconclusive. He’s scheduled to undergo an MRI today, but coach Steve Spurrier said Royal “cracked a little bone in his leg” and named Chamberlain his starter for the foreseeable future. Zeron Flemister was released by the Redskins last week and is playing for the Cleveland Browns.

“Byron ended up playing a whole bunch,” Spurrier said of Chamberlain, who was signed last Monday and was not expected to see much game action. “He played pretty decently there. He’s our starter now.”

Royal, who entered yesterday’s game with five catches for 48 yards, was moving gingerly on his crutches in the Redskins’ locker room afterward. He didn’t sound optimistic about a quick return to the field.

“I’m not sure right now. It could be a couple of things,” Royal said. “Tomorrow, hopefully I’ll have some details from the trainers.”

With Royal hurt, the Redskins might be forced to go to Buffalo next week with a tight end duo of Chamberlain and rookie Kevin Ware, who is on the practice squad.

Penalties, penalties, penalties

It by now is an old story: The Redskins still are being hurt by penalties.

Washington didn’t quite match its record pace of the first five weeks but it still committed nine infractions for 72 yards, raising its season total to 64 penalties for 508 yards.

Included in yesterday’s mistakes were the usual false starts (one each by center Larry Moore and newly-signed tight end Byron Chamberlain) and personal fouls (one each by linebacker LaVar Arrington and defensive end Regan Upshaw) and an illegal use of hands call on cornerback Rashad Bauman.

The latter two flags were instrumental in Tampa Bay’s first touchdown drive. Bauman’s turned third-and-goal from the 10 into first-and-goal at the 5. Two plays later on third-and-goal from the 3, Upshaw roughed the passer and made it first-and-goal at the 1. Ex-Redskin Brad Johnson hit Todd Yoder with a touchdown pass two plays later to make it 7-3 Bucs.

“I jammed [Bucs receiver Reggie Barlow] pretty good and the play was over,” Bauman said. “Then I was walking back to the huddle and all of a sudden, the penalty comes in. I don’t know what [the officials] thought they saw, but it was a terrible call.”

The flag on Arrington, for a hit out of bounds on back Thomas Jones, moved the ball 15 yards to the Washington 27 and helped set up Will Heller’s touchdown seven plays later which gave the Bucs a 21-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.

“I seem to get a penalty a game,” Arrington said. “I can’t speak for everybody else, but it seemed like the usual suspects. I thought [Jones] was still running in bounds and my motor was running.”

Arrington leads the defense with five penalties, trailing only offensive tackles Chris Samuels (eight) and Jon Jansen (seven).

No satisfaction

With six catches for 60 yards, Redskins receiver Laveranues Coles set an NFL record by catching at least five passes in 19 straight games dating to Sept.29, 2002 when he was with the New York Jets. Coles broke a tie with former Green Bay wideout Sterling Sharpe and Jacksonville’s Jimmy Smith when he hauled in a 22-yard pass from Patrick Ramsey with 6:21 left in the third quarter.

“It’s an accomplishment and I’m excited about it, but after a loss, a record doesn’t mean much,” Coles said.

Coles came into the game tied for the league lead in catches and second in receiving yards. Through six weeks, Coles has 39 catches for 573 yards, putting him on pace for 99 catches — which would be second in Redskins history to Art Monk’s 106 in 1984 — and a team-record 1,528 receiving yards. Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell holds that mark with 1,436 yards during the 14-game 1963 season.

Canidate, Smoot, Haley injured

Along with Royal, three other Redskins were hurt yesterday, chief among them running back Trung Canidate.

Canidate suffered what the team termed a mild high right ankle sprain. The injury, which occurred on a second-quarter rushing attempt, kept Washington’s starting tailback out for all but a couple of plays the rest of the afternoon. It could threaten his availability for next week’s game at Buffalo.

“I’ll come in tomorrow and try to aggressively treat it,” said Canidate, who was held to 27 yards on eight carries. “It’s a long season.”

Smoot suffered a bruised sternum when he tackled Tampa Bay’s Keyshawn Johnson in the third quarter.

“I feel terrible,” said Smoot, who played little after the injury, “emotionally, physically. Every possible way you could feel bad, I do.”

Nose tackle Jermaine Haley re-injured his right thumb and was replaced by Martin Chase in the second half. Haley fractured the thumb in the season opener against the Jets and missed one game, but returned to play with a cast the following week.

Fiore inactive

After being made inactive for a third straight game, left guard Dave Fiore said he has considered surgery on his sore knee but that ultimately, “it’s not really an option.”

“It’s a frustrating situation where we really can’t do anything about it,” Fiore said. “If we go in there and have to repair what’s wrong, it could ruin the season. And there’s no guarantee that if we do a minor surgery to clean things up, that it would change the situation.”

Fiore once again will try to rest and play Sunday at Buffalo. The following week is the open date; he admitted this would be a perfect time for surgery if there was a good chance it would solve the problem.

Washington’s other inactives were running back Sultan McCullough, linebacker Orantes Grant, offensive lineman Brad Bedell, wide receiver Cliff Russell, defensive end Ladairis Jackson and defensive tackle Lional Dalton. Wide receiver Taylor Jacobs was dubbed the third quarterback.

David Elfin, Jody Foldesy, Mark Zuckerman

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