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WASHINGTON 31, ARIZONA 23

Spurrier Is Cut Above

September 09, 2002|From Associated Press

LANDOVER, Md. — Steve Spurrier cut the middle finger of his right hand while trying to rip off his headset over a holding penalty.

Spurrier's first NFL play was a simple run up the middle--much to the coach's surprise.

His debut as coach of the Washington Redskins was more of an adventure than anyone could have expected. After all, when was the last time a coach slammed his playsheet to the ground because he had to use his backup quarterback as a kicker?

But Spurrier and the Redskins survived Danny Wuerffel's tepid squib kickoff and subsequent headfirst tackle and held off the Arizona Cardinals, 31-23, Sunday.

Shane Matthews threw three touchdown passes, and Stephen Davis overcame a third-quarter groin strain to get 150 total yards in an attack that wasn't as much Fun 'n' Gun or trickery as it was good, solid NFL offense.

Matthews completed 28 of 40 passes for 327 yards, and Rod Gardner had seven catches for 131 yards and a touchdown as the Redskins put up 442 yards of total offense.

Davis, concerned he would be the forgotten man in a pass-happy offense, was the focal point with 26 carries for 104 yards and had seven catches for 46 yards.

"How many times did he carry? 25? 30?" Spurrier said. "Sometimes you can't believe what you hear or read."

Spurrier, coaching the first game of his record five-year, $25-million contract, was known for tossing his visor at Florida.

But this game will be remembered for the big bandage he wore around his finger after the headset calamity.

"They had that little sponge for padding," Spurrier said. "But I guess my finger went right through it."

Then there was the injury to kicker Brett Conway, who experienced what he called "a total failure" in his leg in the first half. Conway, bothered by a hip injury during training camp, couldn't kick after his final meager extra point, prompting Wuerffel into emergency duty.

Conway's injury let the Cardinals back into the game. Wuerffel's kickoff was so short that he had to make the tackle himself at Washington's 42-yard line.

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