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Best and Worst

Monday, November 15, 2004; Page D14

Worst performance: The Bengals entered the game with the 27th-ranked defense, including the worst against the run in the league. The Bengals had been yielding 149.6 rushing yards per game, but the Redskins never got tailback Clinton Portis into a rhythm and finished with 87 yards rushing as a team. The Redskins' top-ranked defense did little to help in the first half, giving up 226 total yards and 17 points to an offense that entered the game ranked 25th.

Worst home field: The Redskins have lost four straight games at FedEx Field, including two to teams (Dallas, Cincinnati) with losing records. It didn't help that fans were exiting the stadium before the fourth quarter, when the Redskins made things interesting.


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Best start: The Redskins got an interception on the first play from scrimmage when safety Sean Taylor stepped in front of a throw intended for Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson. It was a deep pattern down the right sideline, and Taylor read the pass all the way for his second pick of the season.

Worst reception: It didn't take long for Redskins fans to turn on quarterback Mark Brunell, who got sacked and booed on the Redskins' first series. The boos grew louder with each errant throw and spiked in the first quarter when Brunell missed a wide-open Laveranues Coles across the middle.

Best reception: As Patrick Ramsey was walking from the players' parking lot to the locker room before the game, one fan yelled: "You should be starting, Patrick." Then when Ramsey entered the game about seven and a half minutes before halftime, FedEx Field was the loudest it's been since Joe Gibbs's first game this season. Ramsey's first throw, however, was Brunell-like in its inaccuracy.

Worst quarterback situation: What do the Redskins do at quarterback now? After Brunell continued his struggles and was pulled, Ramsey, save for one drive, hardly made a concrete case for himself to start the next game.

Worst injury: Redskins defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, an offseason free agent acquisition, left in the first half with a hip injury. Griffin has been Washington's most potent defensive lineman with 61 tackles and a team-high four sacks entering the game and appeared to be having a Pro Bowl-worthy season.

Worst schedule: Yesterday's performance certainly did little to engender confidence heading into a daunting stretch of the season. Next week it's the Eagles in Philadelphia; the following week is the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Then it's a pair of home games against the Giants and Eagles.

Worst gaffe: The Redskins were in dire need of a break, and they appeared to get one early in the third quarter when Deltha O'Neal fumbled a punt return. But the yellow flag near the line of scrimmage nullified that after Ladell Betts was ruled ineligible downfield.

Worst protection: Midway through the third quarter with the Redskins facing third down and five, Ramsey had no chance when linebacker Landon Johnson burst through the line for the sack and an eight-yard loss.

Best recovery: On the Bengals' subsequent possession, running back Rudi Johnson ran for 12 yards but lost the ball. Several Cincinnati players had a chance to recover but missed, and linebacker Marcus Washington fell on the ball to put the Redskins in business at their 39.

Best catch: Wide receiver Rod Gardner made a diving reception midway through the third quarter of a Ramsey pass that was low and long. Gardner kept his left arm between the ball and the ground as he landed to make sure the catch would stand.

Best throw: Ramsey completed a nine-yard pass to Chris Cooley with 2:22 to play, putting the ball out of reach of Bengals defenders and just on the fingertips of his H-back. Cooley made the reception at the goal line for the touchdown that cut the lead to 17-10. The throw capped an especially effective series for Ramsey, who completed passes for 27, 19 and 11 yards to keep the Redskins moving.

-- Gene Wang


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