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Week 6 Report

It All Breaks Right for Redskins

Team Rides Opportunities, Grit Past Eagles; Redskins 17, Eagles 14

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 9, 2000; Page D01

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 8 – A strange, emotional and sometimes harrowing day at Veterans Stadium for the Washington Redskins ended with them running joyfully off the field and rookie linebacker LaVar Arrington screaming as he entered the locker room with his teammates: "We'll take it, baby! We'll take it!"

The Redskins didn't win today as much as they survived an afternoon full of odd and frightening developments. They got some major breaks in a stadium that usually has been a house of horrors for them, and they turned cornerback Darrell Green's last-minute interception and a second favorable fourth-quarter ruling on a near fumble into a 24-yard field goal by place kicker Michael Husted with two seconds remaining that beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 17-14, before 65,491.

Chris Samuels, left, is set for rematch with Eagles' Hugh Douglas: "I'm looking for a shutout, thats what I'm looking for," Samuels said. (Post File Photo)

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"I've been here seven times as a head coach," Redskins Coach Norv Turner said. "This is the second time we've won. We're going to take the win. We're excited to have it."

The Redskins won their third straight game and improved their record to 4-2, remaining in a tie atop the NFC East with the New York Giants. The Eagles, at 3-3, fell out of that first-place tie, and had plenty of could-haves to ponder in the aftermath.

"They're a good team," said Eagles running back/kick returner Brian Mitchell, who had little impact in his first game against his former teammates since the Redskins released him in June. "I don't think they're anything like what everybody expected, but they're a good team. They played well enough to win, I guess. ... This was a bitter pill to swallow, but it's just one game."

The Redskins won on a day when wide receiver Albert Connell had a screaming match on the sideline with passing game coordinator Terry Robiskie in the second quarter, leading Turner to say afterward the matter would be reviewed by the team. Turner did not rule out disciplinary action against Connell.

The Redskins won on a day when they had to endure a third-quarter scare when veteran wide receiver Irving Fryar walked off the field following a head-on collision and slumped to the ground, complaining of neck and back pain. After a long delay during which doctors and trainers attended to Fryar, he was wheeled off the field on a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital. Redskins trainer Bubba Tyer said that life-threatening injuries and paralysis were ruled out after Fryar underwent X-rays, but Fryar was scheduled to remain at Thomas Jefferson Hospital overnight because of a shoulder injury.

The Redskins won on a day when Green was beaten for two touchdowns, when Husted missed two field goal attempts and when the Eagles led by seven after an eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Donovan McNabb to wide receiver Na Brown on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Veterans Stadium has not been a venue in which the Redskins usually have had much good luck. They were 2-9 here in the 1990s, with one of the victories coming in a playoff game. But they had plenty of things go their way down the stretch today.

They scored the tying touchdown with 10 minutes 15 seconds remaining on a three-yard run by reserve tailback Skip Hicks--on his first carry of the season--after Eagles safety Damon Moore intercepted a pass by Redskins quarterback Brad Johnson, then fumbled the ball without being hit. Wide receiver James Thrash made the recovery at the Eagles 15-yard line for the Redskins, who gained 10 yards on the play and were in the end zone two plays later.

But that was only the beginning of the Redskins' good fortune. With 2:42 to go, Deion Sanders appeared to give away his second fumble of the day on punt returns, and the Eagles' offense was primed to take over at the Redskins 24. But on an instant replay challenge by Turner, the officials ruled that Sanders's left knee was on the ground before the fumble, and the Redskins retained possession.

"It's crazy," Eagles tight end Chad Lewis said. "I thought Deion coughed it up. That would have been huge."

The Redskins drove to their 40, but stalled and punted. The Eagles took over at their 24 with 40 seconds left. Defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson sacked McNabb for a three-yard loss, and the Redskins called a timeout with 36 seconds to go. On second down, McNabb rolled right, away from some pressure, and, he said later, to throw the ball away out of bounds. But the ball landed in Green's hands at the Redskins 48, and he raced 33 yards to the Philadelphia 19.

On first down with 23 seconds remaining, Davis got free for a 13-yard gain. The ball came loose at the end of the play and appeared to be recovered by Eagles linebacker Mike Caldwell. But an official had whistled the play dead before the fumble, negating the possibility of an instant replay review because the ball was dead when the whistle blew.

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