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Stadium Not Only New Look

September 15, 1997|From Associated Press

LANDOVER, Md. — There was a new stadium and, perhaps, a new Michael Westbrook.

Three weeks after he was fined and benched for beating up a teammate, Westbrook caught two touchdown passes, including a fallaway, 40-yard catch 1:36 into overtime, to give the Washington Redskins a 19-13 victory Sunday in the inaugural game at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.

"The last time I was in front of you all, it wasn't a pleasant thing," said Westbrook, speaking somberly as he referred to his brief public apology for his attack on teammate Stephen Davis. "This time it is.

"This is for John Kent Cooke, my team and Redskins fans. This is what I was drafted to do."

Westbrook has been a disappointment since the Redskins (2-1) made him the No. 4 overall draft pick in 1995. He had caught only one pass this season before Sunday.

"The last guy that you'd expect to make the big play made the big play," Redskin guard Joe Patton said. "Everybody's down on him. Everybody's thinking this, everybody's thinking that. The guy comes out and catches the winning touchdown. You couldn't write a book better than that. It was just emotionally draining."

The game-winning touchdown came after Redskin rookie defensive end Kenard Lang stripped Leeland McElroy of the ball on the Cardinals' first overtime possession. Another rookie, Derek Smith, recovered.

Two plays later, Gus Frerotte sidestepped pressure to hook up with Westbrook, who was mobbed in the end zone.

Kevin Butler's 47-yard field goal for Arizona (1-2) with two seconds remaining in regulation sent the game into overtime. Kent Graham completed four passes to move the ball from the Cardinal 33 with 1:08 remaining and no timeouts.

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