- The Washington Times - Monday, November 22, 2004

PHILADELPHIA — He didn’t lead the Redskins to victory. He didn’t even produce a touchdown. But quarterback Patrick Ramsey’s first start in nearly a year was still a mild success in light of the pathetic production Washington had received from predecessor Mark Brunell.

The immobile, turnover-prone Ramsey of the last two seasons wasn’t on hand in the 28-6 loss to NFC powerhouse Philadelphia. This Ramsey didn’t hit a deep ball but was accurate on the underneath throws and nimble enough to avoid the Eagles’ pass rush.

Ramsey’s numbers — 21-of-34 for 162 yards, a 61.2 passer rating and a late interception that sailed through fullback Rock Cartwright’s hands — weren’t impressive, but he gave his coaches and teammates encouragement that he’s the right man for the job.

“Patrick was very solid,” Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. “He had a lot of poise. He handled things real well. It’s a tough place to come and play, a tough place to get your first start this year.”

Right tackle Ray Brown, who has blocked for Super Bowl MVPs Steve Young and Mark Rypien and Pro Bowl passer Jeff Garcia, liked what he saw in his first start in front of the 25-year-old Ramsey.

“Patrick’s got it,” Brown said. “He managed the game well. The reason we didn’t get touchdowns was that I jumped offsides in the red zone and we didn’t make a completion [to receiver Darnerien McCants] in the end zone. The quarterback’s going to get too much blame for this loss.”

While not blaming himself for the defeat that dropped the Redskins to 3-7, Ramsey wasn’t as upbeat about his play.

“You can never be encouraged by a loss,” Ramsey said. “I felt like for the most part I was accurate, but other than that, there are things that I can do better. … I tried to play smart. I tried to be efficient, complete the ball and not hinder our team. It was a little different as far as my mind-set and where I was throwing the ball. Some of those shots downfield [of which he took just three yesterday], if you get one picked, it creates momentum, especially on the road.”

Assistant head coach Joe Bugel saw a “different” Ramsey than the error-prone quarterback of the Steve Spurrier era and this preseason. Gibbs and Bugel scaled back the passing game to counteract the aggressiveness of Philadelphia’s defense and Ramsey responded to the change in tactics from his bombs-away days under Spurrier.

“I’m encouraged,” Bugel said. “The kid’s learning that when you go back three steps or five steps, you’ve got to get the ball in the air real fast. He was very cool and calm in the pocket, and he was accurate. I saw a lot of balls [that should have been caught].”

Ramsey did have the 10-point underdog Redskins within 14-6 of the Eagles with a first down at the Philadelphia 10 and 13:49 remaining. However, that series concluded with a missed 48-yard field goal try by Ola Kimrin and Washington’s other red-zone penetrations produced just a pair of Kimrin field goals as the Redskins failed to reach the end zone for the first time this season.

“We were in the game [but] it came down to not being able to score to capitalize in the red zone,” Ramsey said. “It’s really frustrating.”

It won’t get any easier Sunday in Pittsburgh against the 9-1 Steelers, but the Redskins believe they are heading in the right direction at quarterback for the first time since Ramsey’s 2003 season ended with a broken foot last Nov.23 at Miami.

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