- The Washington Times - Monday, November 22, 2004

PHILADELPHIA — Right guard Randy Thomas became the latest Washington Redskins starter to suffer a potentially serious injury when he went down with an injured right hamstring midway through the second quarter of yesterday’s 28-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

“It’s probably going to be a couple of weeks, but I’m just guessing,” coach Joe Gibbs said.

Thomas, who was taken off the field on a cart, wasn’t available for comment. Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer declined comment on the severity of Thomas’ injury. Lennie Friedman, who replaced Thomas, made a quick exit from the locker room and was unavailable for comment.

Thomas, who will be re-evaluated today, has missed just three games in his six-year career, all while with the New York Jets in 2001.

With Friedman in the lineup, the Redskins had no reserve interior linemen save rookie Jim Molinaro, who has yet to play a snap on offense and is really a tackle.

Washington already was without right tackle Jon Jansen (Achilles’) and strong safety Matt Bowen (knee) for the season. Middle linebacker Michael Barrow has yet to play because of a balky knee. Pro Bowl outside linebacker LaVar Arrington (knee surgery) has missed the last eight games while right end Phillip Daniels has been sidelined for seven games by a bad groin. Kicker John Hall has been out five games with a similar injury and top defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin was inactive yesterday with a strained hip flexor.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who have been out quite awhile,” Gibbs lamented. “We keep waiting for them to get back and we keep having setbacks.”

Holding his own

Washington’s Ray Brown, who turns 42 on Dec.12, might be the NFL’s oldest position player, but the 19-year veteran held his own against Philadelphia defensive end Jevon Kearse. The Pro Bowl “Phreak” didn’t beat Brown to sack quarterback Patrick Ramsey until just 6:30 remained and the game was no longer in doubt. Kearse made just two tackles.

The performance continued Brown’s sterling efforts against elite pass rushers. He held the New York Giants’ Michael Strahan without a sack in Week2 and teamed with Kenyatta Jones to keep Chicago’s Adewale Ogunleye sackless in Week6 before leaving with an injury.

However, Brown kicked himself for his false start on first-and-goal at the Philadelphia 10, which sent Washington’s best touchdown chance heading in the wrong direction. Gibbs blamed the noise from the raucous crowd of 67,720 at Lincoln Financial Field, but Brown declined to concur.

“It was bad, but that’s no excuse,” said Brown, whose false start negated a touchdown two weeks earlier in Detroit. “I was just trying to time the quarterback’s count and I just couldn’t pick it up. I’m just trying to bring the best I can to this team and cut down on my mistakes, because offensively it’s tough to overcome the mistakes we make in every area.”

Another TD for T.O.

Despite their best efforts, the Redskins couldn’t entirely keep Terrell Owens out of the spotlight yesterday.

The Eagles’ attention-seeking wide receiver was held to just two catches for 24 yards, but he still managed to find the end zone for the 13th time this season.

Playing six days after his racy bit with towel-dropping actress Nicollette Sheridan aired on “Monday Night Football,” Owens was held without a catch in the first half before finally hauling in a 14-yard pass from Donovan McNabb early in the third quarter.

A few minutes later, Owens beat cornerback Shawn Springs on a crossing pattern for a 10-yard touchdown and immediately went into a toe-touching exercise routine. The Redskins weren’t amused, not that they could do anything about it.

“We really didn’t [want to see Owens celebrate a touchdown], but he got his chance,” cornerback Fred Smoot said. “You can’t take that away from him. Like I said earlier in the week, if you don’t want to see T.O. dance, don’t let him in the end zone.”

Owens has had plenty of opportunities to dance this year and throughout his career. He’s the second player in NFL history to catch 13 touchdown passes in five different seasons, joining Jerry Rice (who did it eight times).

The Redskins didn’t take much solace in their respectable performance covering Owens.

“We got beat by 22 points,” Springs said. “That’s all that matters.”

Taylor front and center

Sean Taylor found himself in the middle of a couple of key plays in yesterday’s game, but he was in no mood to talk about it afterward.

The Redskins rookie safety recorded his third career interception in the third quarter, making a nifty move to get in front of Owens and pick off Donovan McNabb’s pass.

A few minutes later, Taylor was flagged for unnecessary roughness when he hit Owens across the head with his forearm. The penalty, which occurred at least 30 yards away from the play, helped give the Eagles a first-and-10 at the Washington 15. Two plays later, Owens caught his touchdown pass and Philadelphia had a 14-6 lead.

Taylor, who has not spoken to the media since his Oct.28 arrest for drunken driving, chastised a television reporter who attempted to interview him after the game.

“Can y’all get out of my face?” Taylor said. “I don’t talk to you all, you know that. So get out of my face.”

Another bum challenge

The Redskins thought Eagles wide receiver Todd Pinkston clearly stepped out of bounds a yard shy of the first-down marker in the fourth quarter. So they challenged the ruling of a first down. But instead of forcing a punt and getting the ball back down by eight points, Washington lost its fifth straight challenge.

Gibbs, who is 1-for-6 on challenges, was told by officials they couldn’t get a clear enough replay to overturn the call. His frustration showed as he explained Washington’s thinking.

“I don’t know what you all saw,” Gibbs said. “We thought there was no question. That’s what our guys said.”

Interesting quote

Gibbs was either sweet-talking his opponent or making a substantial concession last week when he said the Redskins made a “bad” decision in cutting linebacker Jeremiah Trotter in June.

Trotter, who started at middle linebacker for Philadelphia yesterday, signed a seven-year, $35.5million contract in 2002 but was better known for blowing assignments than making big hits in two seasons with the Redskins.

Nonetheless, Gibbs had this to say in a midweek conference call with Philadelphia-area reporters:

“We came in here making evaluations based off what we saw watching films. Sometimes you make decisions and you make bad ones, and I’d say, in this case, we made a bad one. Right now, watching Jeremiah play, he’d fit into anybody’s plans.”

Trotter was credited with seven tackles yesterday, including one on the final play of the first quarter when he darted through the line and stopped running back Clinton Portis for a loss.

Griffin inactive

The hip flexor that sidelined defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin all week prevented him from playing yesterday. Griffin, who put up a Pro Bowl-worthy first half of the season, was injured in the Nov.14 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. He missed the Eagles game despite being listed “probable” on the injury report all week.

Afterward, Griffin said he thought club officials made the decision to keep him inactive on Friday. He added that he continues to feel better and hopes to return this weekend at Pittsburgh.

The Redskins’ other inactives were kicker John Hall, linebacker Mike Barrow, linebacker LaVar Arrington, tackle Vaughn Parker, wide receiver Antonio Brown and defensive end Phillip Daniels. Tim Hasselbeck was the third quarterback.

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