- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2003

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

If a lack of discipline could be measured, the Washington Redskins would have set a record yesterday at FedEx Field. Or tied it, at any rate.

The Redskins matched a club record with 17 penalties for 142 yards in their frustrating, 24-21 overtime loss to the New York Giants.

Adding to the embarrassment was this: The infractions — with the exception of a taunting call on young backup receiver Darnerien McCants — were committed by proven regulars such as linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, offensive tackle Chris Samuels and receiver Rod Gardner. Even ultra-reliable offensive tackle Jon Jansen was caught for three false starts.



Quarterback Patrick Ramsey said the penalties prevented Washington’s offense from “getting a rhythm going.”

“The penalties were very disappointing,” Jansen said. “We’re the leaders of this team.”

The Giants committed 15 penalties for 124 yards, giving the two teams a staggering 32 infractions for 266 yards.

McCants’ penalty against New York’s Johnnie Harris wiped out all but six yards of his 21-yard grab on the game’s first series and was critical in forcing the Redskins to punt from the New York 35.

McCants claimed innocence on his miscue.

“I was throwing the ball back on the field,” McCants said. “[The call] was kind of bogus. I’m not that kind of player.”

Samuels was flagged for holding Giants defensive end Kenny Holmes, canceling Gardner’s 30-yard touchdown catch on Washington’s second series. The penalty ended up being a four-point call since the Redskins settled for John Hall’s 42-yard field goal.

Samuels said he held the second time to prevent Kenny Holmes from likely stripping the ball from defenseless quarterback Patrick Ramsey. Samuels said Holmes also beat him on the play that drew the first flag, saying, “Things happen sometimes.”

Gardner’s holding penalty nullified Trung Canidate’s 10-yard run to the New York 37 early in the second quarter with Washington trailing 14-3. Three plays and two more Washington penalties later, Bryan Barker had to punt again.

And when the Redskins had the Giants facing third-and-24 on the final drive of the first half, Trotter was goaded into an unnecessary roughness call on a play on which teammate Jessie Armstead tackled Tiki Barber nine yards shy of the first down at the New York 44. The Giants scored eight plays later to take a commanding 21-3 lead.

“It was just stupid on our part, on my part,” Trotter said. “One of their linemen hit me in the back and I retaliated. They always catch the guy who retaliates. We could’ve given the ball back to our offense before halftime. Instead, the Giants score. We’ve got to show more poise than that.”

Trotter’s former Eagles teammate, Brian Mitchell, mocked Trotter after the call, telling him it was a stupid play and that Philadelphia had been wise not to re-sign him last year when Washington lavished him with a big contract.

“I told him ‘That is why you are not in Philly. Because you are stupid,’” Mitchell said. “Basically I was trash-talking and he couldn’t handle it. He was telling guys I hit like a girl. I tried to cut him like a girl.”

Said Trotter: “That’s just BMitch being BMitch, running his mouth.”

Mr. Half and Half

Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey continued his uncanny Jekyll and Hyde play of 2003.

Ramsey, just 5-for-15 for 80 yards in the first half, was picked off by Will Allen on his first pass after halftime. However, on Washington’s next series, Ramsey was positively brilliant, completing eight of nine for 79 yards and a touchdown to Darnerien McCants. Ramsey wound up 23-for-45 for 348 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a 2-point conversion in the second half.

“I wouldn’t say it was hot and cold,” Ramsey said. “They threw some looks at us coverage-wise and blitz-wise that we haven’t seen on film. Coach made some adjustments calling plays in order to combat that in the second half.”

Ramsey’s second half was similarly scintillating last week in Atlanta (13-for-15 for 186 yards and two touchdowns) after a 12-for-24, 170-yard first half. It was the opposite story in the opener against the New York Jets when Ramsey, 12-for-13 for 156 yards and a touchdown at halftime, completed just five of 10 for 29 yards the rest of the way.

D-Mac’s big day

Flashes of promise in the first two games came together in the form of a very solid afternoon by wide receiver Darnerien McCants.

The third-year player, filling in at the No.3 receiver spot for injured rookie Taylor Jacobs (pancreas), caught four passes for 67 yards. Among his receptions was a 4-yard touchdown in third quarter, and he added a 2-point conversion in the closing minutes of regulation.

The No.3 job was McCants’ by the end of last season, when he caught 21 passes for 256 yards. The club’s receiver overhaul in the offseason put his status in doubt, but yesterday he made a case for significant minutes even after Jacobs returns.

“I’m just playing football to the best of my ability,” McCants said. “You could say I’m more comfortable. I know my assignments.”

McCants did draw coach Steve Spurrier’s ire for a taunting penalty in the first quarter, but he said he was simply trying to get the ball back to the referee — not push it at safety Johnnie Harris.

Shockey strong again

The Redskins seemed to do a better job defending Jeremy Shockey yesterday, but the Giants’ all-everything tight end still managed to come up with a couple of big plays against his division rivals.

After watching Shockey torch them for 200 receiving yards in two games as a rookie last year, the Redskins seemed intent on shutting him down this time. They didn’t totally succeed. Shockey finished with six catches for 92 yards.

Two plays stood out in particular. Shockey made a nice one-handed catch with LaVar Arrington on his back for a 22-yard gain in the second quarter. Then, in overtime, quarterback Kerry Collins found Shockey for a 14-yard gain that moved New York across midfield and set the stage for Matt Bryant’s game-winning field goal.

Bailey human after all

Champ Bailey, a Pro Bowl cornerback the previous three seasons, had allowed just two catches in Washington’s first two games. In yesterday’s first half, Bailey was victimized that many times for touchdowns.

Amani Toomer left Bailey scrambling on a 54-yard bomb from Kerry Collins in the second quarter.

“Toomer’s one of the best with the double moves,” Bailey said. “He got me with the same move last year. Today, I was trying to catch up the whole time [on the 54-yarder]. Last year the ball was underthrown and I wound up running past him. Toomer’s very underrated, but I’ve always given him his props.”

And Bailey failed to make a tackle to keep Ike Hilliard out of the end zone on the 5-yard hitch that upped the margin to 21-3 with 19 seconds left in the half.

“It was more of a zone. He gave me an inside move. But I still should have made the tackle,” Bailey said.

BMitch returns

Brian Mitchell, the NFL and Washington leader in virtually every career kickoff return and punt return statistic, became the NFL’s all-time leader in combined yards yesterday — at least for one day.

Mitchell, a Redskin from 1990 to 1999 faced the Redskins for the first time as a Giant, passed Jerry Rice on the combined yards list.

Mitchell had 95 combined yards — 10 receiving and 85 on kickoff returns — which gives him 22,379 total yards, passing Rice’s total of 22,331.

Rice, whose Oakland Raiders play the Denver Broncos tonight, has a chance to move back into the lead.

In 14 seasons, Mitchell has 13,223 yards on kickoff returns, 4,858 on punt returns, 2,336 receiving, 1,948 rushing and 14 on fumble returns.

The 35-year-old Mitchell caught on with the Giants this season after the Eagles cut him loose at the end of last year.

Injuries

The Redskins suffered two injuries of consequence: safety Ifeanyi Ohalete strained his lower back and reserve linebacker Antonio Pierce sprained an ankle. Both, however, returned to play.

Inactives

Defensive tackle Lional Dalton, halfback Sultan McCullough, linebacker Orantes Grant, offensive lineman Brandon Winey, receiver Taylor Jacobs, tight end Zeron Flemister and defensive end Ladairis Jackson were inactive.

David Elfin, Mark Zuckerman and Jody Foldesy

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