Redskins-Pats Matchup Looks a Bit Different This Time Around

Monday, October 22, 2007

Next up for the Washington Redskins? The New England Patriots. Among the questions you undoubtedly are asking yourself: What happened the last time these teams played each other in the regular season? Glad you asked. The Redskins won, 20-17, and, while past performance is no guarantee of future success, it was a significant game for both teams.

The Sept. 28, 2003, game at FedEx Field was the 20th of Steve Spurrier's tenure (9-10 at the time) as Redskins coach. The Redskins boasted the league's top-ranked offense and their starting quarterback was Patrick Ramsey; his wide receivers were Rod Gardner and Laveranues Coles and his running backs were Trung Canidate and Bryan Johnson. Among the defensive starters that day, Fred Smoot remains. The Patriots more closely resembled the team they are today with Tom Brady at quarterback, Kevin Faulk at running back and Matt Light on the line; Richard Seymour, Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi were on defense.

With the Redskins leading 20-3, Brady threw for two touchdowns, hitting David Givens for a 29-yarder with 2 minutes 13 seconds to play in the third quarter and Larry Centers for a seven-yarder with 2:10 left in the game.

The real significance of the game, though, was what happened to each team afterward. Spurrier's group may have been 3-1 after the win over the Patriots, but it limped to a 5-11 finish, and the ol' ball coach was gone after the season.

The Patriots' finish was far more memorable -- and historic. They may have been 2-2 after the loss, but they didn't lose again that season, winning 15 straight games -- right through Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston. They weren't stopped until the seventh game of the 2004 season, in Pittsburgh -- setting an NFL record with a 21-game overall winning streak that included victories in 18 straight regular season games.

But back to that September day in 2003:

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