- The Washington Times - Monday, October 20, 2003

THE WASHINGTONTIMES

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — After taking a pounding for six straight weeks, Patrick Ramsey’s body finally gave out yesterday.

The Buffalo Bills knocked out the Washington Redskins’ starting quarterback in the fourth quarter as Ramsey left the game with a bruised throwing hand, bruised hip and possibly a bruised ego.

X-rays taken of Ramsey’s hand and hip were negative, and the second-year quarterback said he doesn’t expect to miss more than a couple days of practice.

“I feel OK,” said Ramsey, who added he could have returned if needed. “I’ll be sore Monday and Tuesday. I’ll probably be ready to go on Wednesday. I’ll be fine. It’s just sore.”

Even though he was sacked just once in the game, Ramsey took a beating from the Buffalo defense, getting hit 10 times. One of those hits, on a third-quarter incompletion to Rod Gardner, led to the bruised hip. In the fourth quarter, he hit his right hand on the helmet of Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel, who had a clear path to the quarterback after beating tight end Byron Chamberlain.

After trying to shake off the injury, Ramsey took a knee and called for the trainers. He walked off the field under his own power and a few moments later jogged into the Washington locker room.

Backup Rob Johnson, who saw his first action of the season at the end of last week’s loss to Tampa Bay, entered amid a chorus of boos from the Buffalo crowd. Two plays later, the former Bills quarterback was sandwiched between a couple of defenders for a sack, bringing one of the loudest roars of the day.

Ramsey has been sacked a league-high 22 times, and yesterday he acknowledged he thinks opposing defenses are coming after him.

“I certainly do,” he said. “They’re bringing blitzes. And until we find a remedy to beat it, I think they’re going to continue to do that.”

Bad day for Betts

Ladell Betts’ first career start was hardly a memorable one.

Filling in for injured tailback Trung Canidate, Betts ran eight times for just 11 yards in the first half and then left with a broken left forearm that will keep him sidelined at least a couple of weeks.

“I think I just took a helmet right on the arm on one of the run plays I had,” said Betts, who had his arm in a sling during the second half. “At first, I just thought it was a bruise. I actually kept playing all the way up until halftime, and then they told me to get X-rays. That’s when I found out I had a fracture.”

There is no immediate timetable on Betts’ return, but coach Steve Spurrier said he likely will be out a couple of weeks.

It was an inauspicious effort from the second-year running back, who was expected to lead the Redskins’ rushing game while Canidate was in street clothes nursing a high ankle sprain. Betts’ minuscule total was all the more disappointing considering the Bills had the league’s 23rd-ranked rush defense.

With their top two tailbacks out, the Redskins turned to scatback Chad Morton and fullback Rock Cartwright in the second half. Rookie tailback Sultan McCullough was activated and available to play for the first time this year, but he saw no action.

Dockery bumbles, fumbles

The Redskins offensive line woes continued yesterday. The unit had its share of blown assignments and penalties, but its low point came when it caused quarterback Patrick Ramsey to fumble.

With Buffalo ahead 10-0, the Redskins drove to the Bills’ 1 early in the second quarter. Instead of a momentum-changing score on third-and-goal, left guard Derrick Dockery pulled right and one of his arms knocked the ball out of Ramsey’s hand. Buffalo safety Lawyer Milloy recovered the ball to end the scoring threat

“I really don’t know [what happened],” said Dockery, a 6-foot-6, 345-pound rookie from Texas. “Somehow the ball got knocked out. I will have to see the film and see what happened.”

It was the worst play of a difficult game for Dockery, who also had a holding call and a penalty for leg whipping. But the play that will stick out is the critical mistake that likely took points off the board.

“We had a chance to get back into it and make it 10-7,” coach Steve Spurrier said. “We fumbled at the 1-yard line.”

Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel saw it as the game’s defining moment, adding, “You sort of break their will when something like that happens.”

Spurrier called Dockery’s leg whipping penalty a “phantom call.”

Circumstances will force the Redskins to continue to play Dockery, and the team hopes he matures quickly. Former starting guard Dave Fiore had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday and is expected to miss at least three weeks.

Dockery felt more comfortable in the offense despite all the mistakes.

“They pay you money,” said Dockery, a third-round draft pick. “It’s a job, and I have to get it done. I will see [on tape] if I played better this week. I felt better about my performance. But the bottom line is, we lost the game.”

Run all over

The Redskins made Buffalo’s worst-ranked rushing offense (57.5 yards a game) look like the O.J. Simpson Bills.

Running back Travis Henry overcame a nagging rib injury to rush 31 times for a career-high 167 yards and two touchdowns. He wore down Washington’s defense with draws and sprints to the outside early, then bulled up the middle in the second half as Buffalo built and preserved a big lead.

Entering the game, Henry was averaging just 2.7 yards a carry. Against Washington, he doubled that.

Afterward, Redskins players were at a loss to describe their failure in such a fundamental aspect of the game.

“If I knew the answers, we would have stopped them out there,” linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said. “All we can do is look at the film and go from there.”

Said defensive end Renaldo Wynn: “I really don’t have the explanation at all. It’s just one of these things where every guy, including myself, has to look at himself and look at the film. It was one of those games where there wasn’t one answer. It was a team effort, and we just didn’t get the job done.”

Coles’ streak ends

Laveranues Coles’ streak of games with at least five receptions came to an unceremonious end as the Redskins’ star wideout caught just three for 58 yards, ending his streak at 19 games (a modern NFL record).

Coles did produce Washington’s longest gain of the day, a 47-yard catch to the Buffalo 7 early in the second quarter.

Injuries

Running back Ladell Betts’ broken forearm appeared to be Washington’s most significant injury. Quarterback Patrick Ramsey bruised his right hand and his hip. Defensive tackle Martin Chase strained a calf in the first quarter and missed most of the game. Offensive tackle Chris Samuels suffered a stinger.

Inactives

The Redskins’ inactives included four injured players: cornerback Fred Smoot (chest), running back Trung Canidate (ankle), guard Dave Fiore (knee) and defensive tackle Jermaine Haley (thumb). The other inactives were linebacker Orantes Grant, guard Brad Bedell and wide receiver Cliff Russell. Wide receiver Taylor Jacobs was named the third quarterback.

Jody Foldesy, Jon Siegel and Mark Zuckerman

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