Rookie leads Skins to comeback win

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   NASHVILLE-Steve Spurrier has always coached well in his home state, this season is no different.
   Despite replacing an injured starting quarterback with a rookie, the Washington Redskins pulled a tremendous second half performance at the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon with their big 31-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
   "I'm proud of the way our guys played," said Washington coach Steve Spurrier, "It's amazing how it worked out, hopefully we proved that we can play this game."
   Spurrier enjoyed the game, but believed that it was much different than the college atmosphere.
   "It worked out fine, I,ve had a lot of good luck and fortune here in Nashville, but it,s much different than Knoxville. I was just thinking about the game."
   Spurrier has only lost one game in this state since he took the reigns at Florida and now Washington, that coming to the University of Tennessee during their 1998 National Title run.
   Washington got a big game out of rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey who entered the game late in the first quarter and ended going 20 of 34 with 268 yards and two touchdowns.
   "He proved to us that he can play, and now y'all don't have to write about who's going to be the quarterback for a while. It sorta surprised me," said rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey, "The guys around me made it easy out there, it was a blessing from above that things just kinda clicked out there.
   "I was disappointed in my first few drives, and I made some mistakes. But I got more chances and we battled through this tough game."
   Tennessee opened the game on offense, but was limited against the tribe.
   Eddie George had two four yard runs, but the Titans were forced to punt.
   The Redskins responded with a nice pass from Danny Wuerffel and a 23-yard run from Stephen Davis to set up a 31-yard field goal from James Tuthill to take a 3-0 lead. However, Davis and Wuerffel would leave the game temporarily with a sprained right knee and a strained shoulder, respectively.
   In the second quarter, Tennessee bounced back with some nice throws from Steve McNair to drive the ŒSkins back setting up an 11-yard run from the Alcorn State alumnus with a Joe Nedney kick to put them on top with a 7-3 lead.
   Washington followed with a nice drive led by rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey. Ramsey nailed 23, 15, 21, and 11 yard throws on the drive before hitting Rod Gardner with a 20-yard touchdown pass. The point after gave Washington a 10-7 lead, but it wouldn't last long.
   McNair with some help from Frank Wycheck and Drew Bennett, drove the ball 71 yards in ten plays leading to a McNair touchdown pass to John Simon with a PAT giving Tennessee a 14-10 lead going into the half.
   Washington exploded into the second half with a returning Davis, passing and rushing between the marks, leading to a plow in score from Stephen Davis, giving the Redkins a 17-14 lead.
   An interception by Fred Smoot set the Skins up with a big third quarter possession, and they took advantage of it. With some nice runs from Stephen Davis, Patrick Ramsey hit a wide open Kevin Lockett with a 23-yard touchdown pass and PAT to take a 24-14 lead.
   With a strong defensive hold on the Titans, Ramsey led the 'Skins downfield with some big passes including a nice 44-yard throw to Jacquez Green.
   Ramsey then threw to Kevin Lockett, who fumbled the ball then picked it up with a pass to Stephen Davis for 14 yards and a touchdown. The kick from Tuthill put the skins up 31-14.
   Jessie Armstead and the Redskin defense took over from that point on, laying the smackdown all over the Titans as the fans began to clear out of the stadium.
   Champ Bailey intercepted McNair on the next Tennessee possession, giving the Redskins room to punish the Titans some more. Fred Smoot ended the game with his second interception from McNair.
   Said Spurrier: "We had an excellent defensive plan. We gave the game ball to the front linemen."
   It was a disappointing day for the Titans and especially coach Jeff Fisher.
   "We wanted to get back to the aggressive style of defense that we used to play," said the coach after the game. "We're under achieving and these guys are extremely frustrated, but there is enough leadership to pull these guys through it. We just want a win right now.
   "They're not happy, and it,s hard for them to see this place with the seats empty."
   Eddie George was a non factor in the contest, gaining only 26 yards on ten attempts. Steve McNair had a complete game passing with a 24 of 39 performance with 245 yards and a score, but three interceptions plagued him.
   Stephen Davis gained 90 yards on 18 carrieds with a score despite being out for the majority of the game. The Redskin defense piled up four sacks on the evening led by a big game from Armstead with his ten tackles.