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Diminishing Returns

On the game's first play, Lewis dashed toward the right side but was quickly halted by a swarm of Redskins for a three-yard loss. Lewis ended the half with only 19 yards on 10 carries.

The score was knotted at zero with 8:50 left in the half, when the Ravens had the ball on third and 14 from their 42-yard line. After the Redskins inserted six defensive backs, Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller zipped a pass up the middle that careened off tight end Daniel Wilcox and flipped high into the air. Smoot was the fortunate recipient, snagging the ball and racing down the right sideline to the Washington 28-yard line. But Baltimore halted the Redskins' drive, and the Redskins were forced to settle for John Hall's 26-yard field goal with 5:42 left.

Fred Smoot's interception in the second quarter set up a 26-yard field goal by John Hall that gave the Redskins a 3-0 lead. (Toni L. Sandys - The Washington Post)


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The Ravens sputtered again on their next offensive series after they got to the Redskins 42-yard line. On second and eight, cornerback Shawn Springs looked like the intended receiver, intercepting Boller's pass almost in full stride.

The Redskins' offense wasn't much better after that turnover, so the defense took over again late in the second quarter. The Ravens had the ball on third and five from their 30-yard line. Boller was pressured into throwing the ball off the wrong foot. The ball deflected off wide receiver Kevin Johnson and Washington safety Todd Franz made a basket catch near the ground before sprinting toward the left side to Baltimore's 8-yard line.

The Redskins finally scored a touchdown on second and goal from the Baltimore 7-yard line. Brunell faked a handoff and rolled left before firing a touchdown pass to Chris Cooley to give the Redskins a 10-0 lead with 26 seconds left in the half.

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Halfway through the third quarter, the Redskins had a third and seven from their 36-yard line. Reed blitzed from Brunell's blind side, and as the lefty quarterback slung his arm forward to throw, Reed batted the ball to the ground. Reed picked it up after a few bounces and raced toward the end zone. Tailback Ladell Betts tried to grab Reed to no avail, and the Ravens cut the Redskins' lead to 10-7.

"We let it slip away," Brunell said. "Turnovers will do that."

The Ravens didn't need their offense to score again because of Sams, one of the league's top punt returners. Sams fielded a punt at the Baltimore 22-yard line and, helped by a fake reverse handoff, created an opening. Sams sprinted toward the right sideline in front of Redskins defenders. Washington's last hope was linebacker Khary Campbell, who dove at Sams's feet shortly before he the cornerback entered the end zone.

The crowd grew quiet and the Ravens fans who dotted the stadium in their purple jerseys screamed gleefully. The Ravens were suddenly up 14-10 with 6:40 left in the third quarter despite the offense not scoring a touchdown.


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