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Ramsey near-flawless in first half

9/5/2003

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- The JetSkins let their feelings be known
when the grudge game was finally over and they had won.

Kicker John Hall confessed that he dreamed "the whole
offseason" about making a game-winning kick to beat his old team
in the NFL's season opener. He did just that Thursday night,
nailing a 33-yarder with 5 seconds left to give the Washington
Redskins a 16-13 victory over the New York Jets.

"It's pretty much one of those stupid things you do when you're
done practicing," said Hall, who also had kicks of 50 and 22
yards. "You make up those situations where you have this or that --
and I'm sure you know which team it was against."

Guard Randy Thomas, who has spoken politely of his ex-teammates,
snatched a moment of glee as he watched the ball sail through the
uprights.

"To see those guys with their faces down when the kick went in,
it was a lovely feeling," Thomas said.

The other two JetSkins -- the spoils of an audacious offseason
raid by Redskins owner Dan Snyder -- did their parts in an instant
rivalry created by the offseason player tug-of-war. Laveranues
Coles danced and scowled his way for 106 yards receiving on five
catches -- all in the first half, and Chad Morton was solid in his
debut as the Redskins' return man.

"Thank goodness Mr. Snyder went out and got us a heck of a
kicker," said coach Steve Spurrier, who went through three kickers
last year. "The way our kicking situation was last year, I don't
see us winning this game."

Patrick Ramsey, not the most nimble quarterback, set up the
winning score with a 24-yard scramble to New York's 31-yard line.
Ladell Betts carried three times for 17 yards to wind down the
clock for Hall's attempt.

"It's tough because when it's tied up, you'd like to win it,"
New York coach Herman Edwards said. "For the most part we stayed
in the game. We weathered the storm early, got some turnovers but
had to kick field goals."

Ramsey completed 17 of 23 passes for 185 yards, but only 29
yards came after halftime as Spurrier's Fun 'n' Gun offense went
surprisingly conservative. Ramsey also turned over the ball twice
in the second half, setting up two Jets field goals that tied the
game.

"When we threw the ball in the second half, nothing good was
happening," Spurrier said. "I got sort of afraid to go back
there. Our defense was playing so well, we just put in on the
ground."

Vinny Testaverde, returning to the starting job after a
preseason wrist injury to Chad Pennington, completed 15 of 24
passes for 105 yards for New York.

Of the four ex-Jets, Coles was the only one to voice any real
animosity toward his former team during training camp. He found
Hall's game-winner to be a perfect ending.

"It just goes to show that sometimes the grass is greener on
the other side," Coles said.

Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was a terror, chasing down
players in the flat to turn potential long gains into short ones.
His stats -- six tackles and one batted pass -- didn't begin to show
the difference he made as the Jets were held to 158 total yards in
the NFL's second annual Thursday night opener.

The JetSkins made their presence known right away. Morton
returned the opening kickoff 23 yards. Coles made a 25-yard catch
over the middle and celebrated with a mini-dance. Thomas helped
pave the way for the 12-play drive capped by Hall's first field
goal.

But the Jets went all the way on their opening drive, with
Edwards successfully gambling on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard
line. He took top rusher Curtis Martin out and gave the ball to
LaMont Jordan, who leaped over the pile and into the end zone.

Spurrier did his own fourth-and-1 trick on the next drive, with
Betts converting with a short run at the Jets 27. Darnerien McCants
finished the drive with a 4-yard TD catch to put Washington ahead
10-7.

On the next drive, Ramsey somehow ducked under blitzing
linebacker Mo Lewis and found Coles for a 48-yard gain over backup
safety Tyrone Carter, who entered after Jon McGraw left with a
concussion on a helmet-to-helmet tackle.

Coles jawed at the sidelines after that catch, then gave an
emphatic "first down" sign after a 22-yard reception two plays
later. The catch set up Hall's 22-yard field goal, making the
halftime score 13-7.

Ramsey was nearly perfect in the first half -- 12-for-13 for 156
yards -- but his second pass of the second half was intercepted by
Donnie Abraham and returned to Washington's 26. The Jets couldn't
punch it in, however, settling for Doug Brien's 30-yard field goal.

Ramsey's second turnover set up another field goal that tied the
score in the fourth quarter. John Abraham, who had two sacks,
stripped Ramsey of the ball, and Jason Ferguson recovered at
Washington's 43. Five plays later, Brien made a 41-yard field goal
with 8:13 to play.

Game notes
Washington's Bruce Smith was credited with one-half sack in
the fourth quarter, moving him within 2{ of Reggie White's all-time
record. ... The Redskins wore white jerseys and pants, a departure
from their the white-on-burgundy they traditionally wear at home.
Spurrier said it was the players' choice. "Don't be surprised if
you see burgundy-on-burgundy one game this year. They want to do
that, too," Spurrier said ... The Redskins are now 2-7 in
non-Sunday games since Snyder bought the team in 1999.