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QB Competition Going Down To the Wire


The competition for the Redskins' starting quarterback job heated up last Thursday night in Baltimore.

Quarterbacks Rex Grossman and John Beck alternated every two possessions until third-stringer Kellen Clemens took over at the start the fourth quarter and finished the game.

Beck and Grossman each received four possessions during the game. They both led the first-team offense on long scoring drives, but they also looked inconsistent at times.

Grossman started the game and his first two drives ended in punts. The Redskins did however have a 7-0 lead at that point because cornerback DeAngelo Hall intercepted a Joe Flacco pass and returned 52 yards for a touchdown.

On Grossman's next two possessions, both in the second quarter, the Redskins punted the ball away the first time and scored a touchdown on Grossman's final series of the game.

On the touchdown drive, Grossman completed his first five pass attempts, leading the offense to Baltimore's 19-yard line. After a delay of game penalty and two incomplete passes to wide receiver Santana Moss in the end zone, Grossman finally broke through.

On 3rd-and-15 from Baltimore's 24-yard line, Grossman connected with a wide open Moss in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. The score capped a 9-play, 80-yard drive, Grossman's longest of the game.

It gave the Redskins a 21-14 lead heading into halftime.

Grossman finished the game with 8-for-15 pass completions for 112 yards and one touchdown.

He said after the game that he felt he played "pretty well" and he understood the importance of his touchdown drive before the half.

"It was real important," Grossman said. "At the time, [the quarterbacks] were given two series and then we would take two series off. You want to have a scoring drive of a touchdown, so it definitely felt good."

When asked if he felt he had done enough to earn the starting job, he replied simply: "I'm not going to comment on that. I just feel good about what I have done."

Beck started off his first drive with a 33-yard pass to wide receiver Anthony Armstrong. His next play, he threw deep again to tight end Fred Davis but the pass was overthrown. Two plays later, Beck handed off to running back Tim Hightower who rushed for a 37-yard touchdown.

Beck's second possession resulted in a punt.

On his second set of drives, starting early in the third quarter, Beck threw a deep pass to Donte' Stallworth, who was 1-on-1 with Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb. The pass was slightly overthrown and Webb was able to get ahead of Stallworth and record an interception.

Beck redeemed himself on his last drive of the game. He led a Redskins drive that started at the 3-yard line.

Beck converted two key third-down passes to wide receiver Terrence Austin, the most important being a 15-yard pass when the offense was backed up at its own 7-yard line.

Austin ended the drive when he grabbed a screen pass and weaved his way past tacklers 13 yards for a touchdown. The score gave the Redskins a 28-21 advantage midway through the third quarter.

Beck finished the night with 6-fo-10 pass completions for XXX yards, one touchdown and one interception.

After the game, Beck said he was happy with his performance, especially finishing his night with a touchdown drive.

"That was huge," he said. "It made me feel good, putting the ball in the end zone. It was good for our team, also."

Like Grossman, Beck did not want to focus on the quarterback competition after the game.

"I can't really worry about any of that," he said. "If I do, it's just mental quicksand. I just do what I can, play when they say play and do the best that I can."

Head coach Mike Shanahan said he liked what he saw from his two quarterbacks.

"I was pleased with both of them," he said. "I thought they both came off the bench against a good defense and handled themselves well."

He remains non-committal – at least publicly – when asked who will start at quarterback.

"I'm going to evaluate them all the way through camp and all the way through the last preseason game, possibly up to the day before we play the [New York] Giants," Shanahan said. "It all depends on if someone separates themselves."

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