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Redskins thrive on ground against Texans

12/22/2002

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- For the first time in 17 years, the
Washington Redskins had two 100-yard rushers in the same game.

Question on the Texans: Should they go after a veteran back like Emmitt Smith or Stephen Davis if they were available next year?
Their first priority should be securing their offensive line. QB David Carr broke the record for QB sacks today. You can't build an offense without a dominant offensive line. Then the Texans can look at the running back. I don't see Emmitt Smith going to a team like the Texans, because at this point in his career he wants to go to a team that can win now.

Question on the Redskins: What's your evaluation of Patrick Ramsey relative to two other first-year QBs -- David Carr and Joey Harrington?
Spurrier's coaching decisions, with his rotating quarterback game, have affected Ramsey's development. Having to look over your shoulder can impact your confidence. Still, I think he's a good quarterback, and given the opportunity, he could be as good as the other two. After this season, though, I would rank Harrington first, Carr second and then Ramsey.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Their defense allowed just 166 yards, their stingiest game of
the season. And the special teams scored an unusual safety.

They must have been playing the Houston Texans.

Expansion opponent or not, Washington needed a victory to
improve the sagging morale that comes with a three-game losing
streak. They got it by thumping the Texans 26-10 Sunday.

"When you've lost three in a row, certainly it means a little
more,'' coach Steve Spurrier said. "Basically, that was our battle
cry this week. Let's try to have a victory party Sunday night. It's
been a long time since we've tasted a win. It was important to play
well. I thought the effort was a lot better.''

The Redskins defense sacked David Carr three times, giving Carr
a dubious new NFL record of 73 times sacked in a single season.
Carr surpassed the record held by Randall Cunningham, sacked 72
times with Philadelphia in 1986. Bruce Smith got two of the sacks,
leaving him four behind Reggie White's all-time record.

"I was trying to break some NFL records when I came into the
league, but hopefully not that one,'' Carr said.

The game did wonders all around for the Redskins (6-9).

The offense scored its most points in eight weeks. Patrick
Ramsey threw two touchdown passes and got his first victory as a
starter. Rookie Ladell Betts (20 carries, 116 yards and a
touchdown) and first-year player Kenny Watson (20 carries, 110
yards) became the first 100-yard duo since Keith Griffin (164) and
George Rogers (124) on Nov. 3, 1985.

And they did it for coach known for a Fun 'n' Gun offense.

"That was a Run 'n' Gun,'' receiver Rod Gardner said. "I like
it. I was right there being a spectator watching it myself.''

Betts and Watson shared running duties because Stephen Davis is
out with a separated shoulder. And they offered hope Davis can be
replaced if, as expected, Davis is released for salary cap reasons
in the offseason.

The only downside for Washington was its incredibly woeful
kicking game. Punter Craig Jarrett had a pair of 10-yarders and had
another blocked for a Houston touchdown, and Jose Cortez missed two
field goals.

"Fortunately, we didn't have to punt again,'' Spurrier said.

The Texans (4-11) came to town with a load of ex-Redskins in tow
-- 15 front office workers followed ex-Washington general manager
Charley Casserly south to Houston. But none of that experience
could help a team compensate for a great talent imbalance.

"This might have been their best game of the year,'' Casserly
said. "Clearly, it wasn't our best game.

"I saw hundreds of people before the game I hadn't seen in a
long time. It's a football game once it starts, and right now,
we're an underdog, and we have to have things go a certain way to
win.''

The game pitted the first and last picks in the first round of
April's draft, Carr and Ramsey. Carr, who has started every game,
completed just 12 of 31 passes for 112 yards with one interception
and a lost fumble.

Ramsey, making his fourth start, was 14-for-32 for 190 yards to
add a starting victory to his relief win at Tennessee in October.

Ramsey hit fullback Rock Cartwright for a 12-yard TD pass in the
first quarter and Derrius Thompson for a 13-yarder in the second
quarter.

The two touchdowns sandwiched one of the most unusual scoring
plays of the season. On fourth down from the Houston 4, Ladarius
Jackson had a clear path to block the punt until he was tackled by
Houston's Billy Miller. The call was holding in the end zone, an
automatic safety.

The safety capped a miserable series typical of an expansion
team: two false starts and an 11-yard loss on a fumble by Carr.

Houston's touchdown came in the fourth quarter, when Kevin Williams recovered Jimmy McClain's blocked punt in the end zone.

The game was barely over before many Redskins started talking
about next week's game against the Cowboys. Dallas has beaten
Washington 10 in a row.

"Don't y'all get hyper,'' defensive tackle Daryl Gardener
yelled as he walked through the locker room. ``We still got Dallas
next week.''

Game notes
Spurrier met before the game with former President Bush, a
guest of Houston owner Bob McNair. "We talked a little golf,''
Spurrier said. ... Injuries for Houston: Safety Gary Walker
(sprained left elbow) and safety Ramon Walker (right knee sprain).
For Washington: Jackson (ruptured knee tendon) and punt returner
Bruce Branch (sprained right ankle).