The Redskins suffered their first defeat of the regular season Sunday, losing to the New York Giants 20-14 at the Meadowlands.
The offense struggled to hold on to the football, turning it over seven times in the defeat. Three of the turnovers came in the second quarter when the Giants scored all of their points. Two more came in the fourth quarter as the Redskins were trying to mount a come-from-behind win.
"We made so many mistakes today," head coach Joe Gibbs said after the game. "I think back and I don't know that I have seen that many. We need to take a long hard look [at the offense]."
The Redskins' record slipped to 1-1 on the season.
Quarterback Mark Brunell left the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Patrick Ramsey, who finished out the game. Brunell's status will be determined later this week.
Brunell was 10-of-18 for 92 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He led the Redskins to a touchdown on the offense's first possession-an impressive 10-play, 53-yard drive capped by a 2-yard pass from Brunell to rookie tight end Chris Cooley.
Ramsey was 9-of-18 for 142 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions-all in the Giants' red zone.
"I think our team expects me to perform better and I expect myself to perform better in a situation like that," Ramsey said. "It's my job to go in there and run the offense efficiently. I have to play smart football and I don't think I did today."
Clinton Portis rushed for 69 yards on 20 carries and fumbled twice. He caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Ramsey early in the fourth quarter to pull the Redskins within six points of the Giants. But with the Redskins trailing, Portis became less of a factor as Gibbs tried to score quickly through the air.
Despite the disappointing loss, there were several positives to come out of the game for the Redskins:
-- The Redskins' run defense allowed only 62 yards rushing. In two games, the run defense is giving up an average of just 46 yards per game.
-- The Redskins out-gained the Giants in offensive yards by 322 to 277 and had 20 first downs to the Giants 15.
-- Wide receiver Laveranues Coles caught nine passes for 100 yards.
-- Tight end Chris Cooley caught his first NFL touchdown in the first quarter and finished the afternoon with three catches for 14 yards.
-- Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams continued to apply steady pressure, with cornerback Shawn Springs recording a sack on the game's first series and Matt Bowen, LaVar Arrington and Marcus Washington attacking the line of scrimmage on blitzes. Washington led the defense with 12 tackles (11 solo).
But seven turnovers were too difficult for any of the Redskins to overcome.
In the first quarter, the Redskins got on the scoreboard first on the 10-play, 53-yard drive. Strong running by Portis and a 14-yard completion from Brunell to H-back Mike Sellers got the Redskins a first and goal at the Giants' 1-yard line. Two plays later, Brunell found Cooley for the touchdown. It was Cooley's first NFL touchdown and he spiked the ball triumphantly in the end zone.
In the second quarter, the Giants capitalized on three Redskins turnovers to score 20 unanswered points.
Giants' defensive tackle Fred Robbins sacked Brunell and forced a fumble that was quickly recovered by Michael Strahan. On the game's next play, Kurt Warner threw a 38-yard bomb to Tim Carter, who was a step ahead of the nearest defender as he crossed the goal line for the score.
Midway through the second quarter, with the Redskins at third-and-one on their own 19-yard line, Giants' safety Shaun Williams slapped the ball from Portis's hands, forcing a fumble that was quickly scooped up by linebacker Barrett Green. He raced 19 yards for the score, giving the Giants a 14-7 advantage.
On the Redskins' next drive, Brunell's screen pass to Portis was tipped at the line of scrimmage and picked off by Robbins. The Giants again had excellent field position at the Redskins' 26-yard line. The turnover led to Steve Christie's 38-yard field goal and a 17-7 lead.
The Giants capped the second quarter with an 11-play, 72-yard drive that resulted in a 22-yard field goal by Christie.
The Redskins had an opportunity to score in the half's final minute, thanks to a 49-yard kickoff return by Chad Morton. But John Hall's 41-yard field goal attempt hit the right goal-post.
In the third quarter, Brunell suffered the hamstring injury midway through the third quarter and was replaced by Ramsey.
With Ramsey at the helm, the Redskins were able to move the ball. But the offense continued to let scoring opportunities slip away.
Late in the third quarter, Ramsey connected with Rod Gardner on a 51-yard pass to get the Redskins to the Giants' 7-yard line. Gardner made a spectacular diving catch on the play.
One player later, Portis scored from two yards out, but the Redskins were off-sides and the touchdown was called back. Then, Ramsey's pass to Coles in the corner of the end zone was picked off by safety Brent Alexander.
In the fourth quarter, Ramsey got the Redskins back on the scoreboard. The third-year quarterback scrambled for 17 yards, then connected with Coles on a 16-yard pass to get the offense within striking distance. Two plays later, Ramsey connected with Portis on a 13-yard pass in the back of the end zone for the touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Cooley forced a fumble that was recovered by Todd Franz. But Ramsey threw another interception, this time to safety Gibril Wilson, as their appeared to be some miscommunication between Ramsey and Coles on the play.
The next drive ended with the same result. Ramsey's pass for Gardner was intercepted by Alexander, the safety's second of the day, at the Giants' 9-yard line, stymieing another drive.
Meantime, the Redskins' defense frustrated the Giants most of the afternoon. The Giants were 1-of-13 on third down conversion attempts and 0-for-2 on fourth downs. Even when the Giants were trying to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter, the Redskins' defense rose to the challenge and gave the offense one more chance.
But the Redskins' final scoring opportunity ended on downs, as Ramsey's pass to Portis on 4th-and-4 fell incomplete.
"We are really putting our defense in a bad position," Gibbs said. "They kept on fighting hard today, but when you make that many mistakes you are not going to win games."