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Davis, Smith Right on the Money for Redskins

September 04, 2000|From Associated Press

LANDOVER, Md. — Stephen Davis took the money and ran. Bruce Smith ran and took the momentum away from the Carolina Panthers with a jarring hit.

The Washington Redskins, with the priciest roster in NFL history, had its newest high-dollar player combine with one of its oldest Sunday to swing the tide in the second half of 20-17 victory over the Panthers.

"People think we've added 15 guys who are egomaniacs," said Washington Coach Norv Turner, who also got solid games from newcomers Deion Sanders and Mark Carrier. "We've added four or five guys who are real, real pros. They'll do anything we want them to do to win."

Smith, in his first game not in a Buffalo uniform, had two of the Redskins' six sacks, including his stumbling blindside jolt that forced quarterback Steve Beuerlein's fumble in the third quarter. The only turnover in the game was converted into a field goal that tied the score, 10-10, and showed the 37-year-old defensive end still has plenty in the tank.

"It may not be full, but I think I'm still productive," Smith said. "Especially when I'm playing with guys like we've assembled here."

Davis took over from there. The fourth-year running back, who over the weekend agreed to a nine-year contract worth about $90 million, revived the sputtering offense, setting up a touchdown and field goal in the fourth quarter.

Eluding tacklers on a tiring Carolina defense, Davis carried 10 times for 54 yards on those two drives. He finished with 23 carries for 133 yards, including a two-yard touchdown run on the Redskins' first drive.

"I was going to come out here and play, contract or no contract," said Davis, who led the NFC in rushing last season with 1,405 yards. "I felt the more I got the ball, the better I got."

Quarterback Brad Johnson scored on a one-yard sneak that followed three consecutive runs by Davis. Brett Conway made it 20-10 with a 21-yard field goal with 4:59 to play.

The Panthers, ineffective on offense for most of the game, scored their only touchdown in a no-huddle, 65-yard drive capped by Beuerlein's 20-yard pass to Wesley Walls with 1:52 to play.

However, the Redskins recovered the onside kick, and Davis took the next handoff and ran 33 yards. He followed that with an eight-yard gain to run out the clock.

Said Sanders of the high expectations for the Redskins because of all of the team's high-salaried players: "This isn't college. We don't care about winning by a certain number of points. We're not playing to be ranked nationally."

While the Redskins' off-season investments paid dividends, the Panthers' new defensive additions weren't as stellar. Reggie White, Eric Swann, Chuck Smith and Jay Williams combined for four tackles and no sacks.

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