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WASHINGTON 31, TENNESSEE 14

A Star Is Born for Spurrier

October 07, 2002|From Associated Press

NASHVILLE — Steve Spurrier hopes his third quarterback of the season will be his last.

Rookie Patrick Ramsey came off the bench and threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns as the Washington Redskins bounced back after two straight losses to beat the Tennessee Titans, 31-14, Sunday.

Danny Wuerffel made his first NFL start in four years, but the 1996 Heisman Trophy winner lasted only one series before leaving because of an injured right shoulder. Spurrier sent in Ramsey, and the rookie didn't give his coach any reason to turn to Shane Matthews, who had started the first three games.

"We don't have to write about who's going to play quarterback for a while," Spurrier said. "He's our guy. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and keep getting better and go the distance."

Ramsey, a first-round draft pick out of Tulane, easily handled pressure from the blitzing Titans (1-4). He rallied the Redskins (2-2) from a 14-10 halftime deficit by leading them to two touchdowns in the third quarter to clinch the victory.

He also impressed Spurrier, which isn't easy to do.

"I didn't know that he could step up in there with guys flying around him and make the throws he did. That was crucial," the coach said. "Anybody who says it doesn't matter who plays back there is wrong."

"He avoided the rush here and there, stepped up and hit a lot of good third-down plays, kept drives going. I didn't know he could do that. None of us did," Spurrier added. "We knew he could look good in practice, but the game's a different story. He proved to us he could play."

Ramsey was 20 for 34, and Washington rolled up 442 yards. Stephen Davis ran for a touchdown and caught another despite spraining a ligament in his right knee at the end of the first quarter. He returned in the third quarter, with the knee tightly taped, and finished with 90 yards in 18 carries.

The game featured two of the NFL's worst defenses, but the Redskins played much better, coming up with four turnovers and four sacks. They held Tennessee to 289 total yards.

The Titans lost their fourth straight game and matched their worst start since relocating to Tennessee in 1997. They also blew a second-half lead for the third time during the skid and had fans booing loudly as they struggled.

"I apologize for the effort and the outcome," Coach Jeff Fisher said.

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