- The Washington Times - Monday, October 17, 2005

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Mark Brunell looks at his numbers this morning — 331 yards passing, three touchdowns and a 110.9 quarterback rating — maybe he’ll feel a little bit better.

But foremost on Brunell’s mind in the moments after the Washington Redskins’ 28-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday were his two lost fumbles.

The Redskins drove 55 yards on the game’s opening drive before Brunell was sacked and stripped by Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen, who also recovered.

In the second quarter, Brunell left the pocket on third-and-9 at the Washington 39-yard line and was hit from behind by Allen, who again forced and recovered the fumble.

“[Kansas City] made the plays and we talked all week about how they stripped the ball and flew around,” Brunell said. “But apparently, we didn’t pay enough attention to that, because the ball came out.”

The bright side of Brunell’s day was a second consecutive 300-yard passing game, the first by a Washington quarterback since Patrick Ramsey did it in Weeks 2 and 3 of the 2003 season.

Brunell’s passing rating and three touchdowns were his best marks with the Redskins.

Brunell has nine touchdown passes and two interceptions in four starts this season.

“We’re doing some good things,” he said. “But it’s a combination of things — a lot of details — that we need to pay attention to and clean up.”

Record day for Santana

Redskins receiver Santana Moss had what was perhaps his finest game as a professional. Moss tied a career high with 10 receptions, and his 173 yards receiving and 78-yard touchdown catch both were career highs.

The touchdown came on a quick throw from Brunell on a play that moved left tackle Chris Samuels and tight end Robert Royal yards away to create a hole. The play went for no gain in Week 2 against Dallas, but sprung Moss wide open yesterday.

“We all know that unless you finish a game and get the W, all the other stuff doesn’t matter,” Moss said.

In check

The Redskins defense kept Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez in check, holding him to two receptions for 13 yards.

Gonzalez was, however, able to draw two penalties on Kansas City’s first drive, including a 20-yard pass interference call on Redskins linebacker Lemar Marshall.

“Three of our first five passes were to him, and there were a lot of things designed to get the ball to Tony,” Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. “But Tony carries an unbelievable reputation from week to week.”

Chiefs return man Dante Hall had only two punt returns, netting just 2 yards, and averaged 18 yards on four kickoff returns.

Close to the vest

Trailing by a touchdown with less than seven minutes left, the Redskins faced a fourth-and-8 from the Kansas City 40. Coach Joe Gibbs elected to punt.

“I actually felt like that was too much,” Gibbs said. “We still had time. I was hoping for a soft punt to get them backed up and then maybe get the ball back at midfield.”

Instead, Derrick Frost punted into the end zone. The Chiefs then held the ball until the 1:46 mark.

Clark sidelined

Redskins safety Ryan Clark was expected to start yesterday, but he did not make the trip to Kansas City because of a bruised spleen.

It was Clark’s third injury of the season. He missed most of the preseason with two knee sprains.

Matt Bowen started in Clark’s stead.

“After practice on Friday, Ryan complained about some pressure under his ribs,” Gibbs said. “I don’t know how he got it, when he got it, if he had it for awhile or what. But we took caution there and he’ll need a couple weeks.”

LaVar sightings

For the second consecutive game, LaVar Arrington did not play a down on defense. He did, however, play on two punt returns. He has played just two defensive snaps in the Redskins last three games.

Asked about Arrington, Gibbs said: “I’ve already updated everybody on that. I have great confidence in our defensive staff, and if at some standpoint they feel like LaVar needs to be in there, he’ll be in there.”

Scrambling man

Brunell has been an effective scrambler for the Redskins this season, but he was one-upped yesterday by Chiefs quarterback Trent Green.

Green ran five times for 25 yards, including a 13-yard dash on third-and-4 that kept the Chiefs’ first drive alive and an 11-yard run on third-and-9 that kept a touchdown drive going.

“It’s been a long time,” Green said. “It’s funny because a couple Redskins people I still know came up and were kind of joking about it a little bit. I don’t want to make my living at that, but it was nice that I was able to come up with some plays and keep some drives going.”

Two that got away

Redskins cornerback Walt Harris had two pass break-ups, but he lamented what might have been on both plays.

On the Chiefs’ first play from scrimmage, Green threw to Gonzalez on the right side, and Harris momentarily lost his footing and could only get a hand on the pass. Eleven plays later, Harris almost intercepted a Green pass in the end zone. The Chiefs settled for a field goal.

“I should have had better awareness on both plays,” Harris said.

Crushed Cartwright

Rock Cartwright had carried just four times during the last two seasons before Mark Brunell handed him the ball at the Kansas City 25 with the game tied 14-14 late in the third quarter.

Moments later, Cartwright fumbled, and Chiefs safety Sammy Knight was dashing 80 yards the other way for a touchdown.

Cartwright was disconsolate in the postgame locker room. The mistake hurt even more because Cartwright was only in the game because Clinton Portis’ usual backup, Ladell Betts, was injured and declared inactive for the game.

“I can’t describe how bad I’m feeling,” said Cartwright, sitting on his stool with his head on his chest. “I saw a crease and tried to hit it but didn’t have the ball protected with two hands and the guy came from the backside and knocked it out. I cost us seven points.”

Portis contained

In his two seasons in Denver, Clinton Portis dominated Kansas City like no other back. Portis carried 81 times, gained 559 yards and scored 10 touchdowns in those games.

But in his first game against the Chiefs as a Redskin, Portis was ordinary. He gained 77 yards on 21 carries and made four catches for 51 yards. Portis also extended his string of scoreless games to seven, dating to last December.

“You can’t take anything away from their defense, but we didn’t run too much in the second half because we were continuously playing catch-up,” Portis said.

Portis’ lip was bleeding, and he limped around the locker room on the ailing calf that kept him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Portis was briefly sidelined yesterday for the same reason.

“It got rolled up on,” Portis said. “The pain was there, but I didn’t want to leave my guys out there [without me]. I’ve got all week to think about the pain in my leg. As long as I can stand, I’ll go.”

Broughton debuts

Seventh-round draft choice Nehemiah Broughton made his NFL debut yesterday, lining up in place of the injured Betts next to James Thrash on kickoff returns. He returned one kick for 5 yards.

“I didn’t have much room to make anything happen, but it was nice to be out there, finally,” said Broughton, who had been listed as inactive the first four games.

Injury report

The Redskins reported three injuries after the game: Running back Clinton Portis (calf), center Casey Rabach (sprained ankle) and defensive tackle Cedric Killings (sprained ankle).

Portis, who aggravated an injury sustained last week at Denver, and Rabach returned to the game. Killings, injured on a second-quarter special teams play, did not return.

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