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Jaguar Offense Can't Turn the Corner

September 29, 1997|From Associated Press

LANDOVER, Md. — Darrell Green used his right hand to bat the ball into the air for an interception. Cris Dishman did the same with his left hand. By the time the game was over, the oldest cornerback duo in the NFL had shut down one of the league's best offenses.

With Green, 37, and Dishman, 32, swatting Mark Brunell's passes away, the Washington Redskins held the league's top-scoring offense without a touchdown and dropped the Jacksonville Jaguars from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 24-12 victory Sunday.

"This is a high-powered offense, and people were going to say, 'Did they beat our secondary?' " Green said. "I was pretty hyped about playing these guys, and I'm leaving here very satisfied."

Not since the first month of their short history have the Jaguars (3-1) gained as few yards (204) as they did Sunday.

The Jaguars went in averaging 32.7 points a game. But against the stingiest pass defense in the NFL, Brunell completed 16 of 31 passes for just 153 yards with two interceptions and frequently had to dump the ball off or take a coverage sack.

Green held Jimmy Smith, who had 100-plus yards receiving in each of the first three games, to four catches for 52 yards. In the second quarter, Green flicked the ball away from Smith to free safety Stanley Richard, setting up the go-ahead touchdown for the Redskins (3-1).

Then, late in the game, with the score 17-12 and Brunell looking for another come-from-behind fourth-quarter drive, Dishman punched a pass away from Keenan McCardell to defensive tackle Marc Boutte for an interception that set up an insurance touchdown.

"It put a chip on our shoulders," Dishman said. "A lot of people were talking about Jacksonville and their receivers and Brunell. What they didn't realize is that Darrell Green is on the right and I'm on the left."

While Brunell struggled, Washington's Gus Frerotte overcame a shaky start to have one of his best games, completing 16 of 24 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns. Terry Allen, playing with a cast on his broken left thumb, ran for 122 yards in 36 carries.

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