ANAHEIM, CALIF., SEPT. 5 -- Aside from the injuries, the Washington Redskins were quite pleased with the way they tuned up for the regular season tonight. They beat the Los Angeles Rams, 26-14, before 51,133 at Anaheim Stadium. Quarterback Jay Schroeder looked good. Several newcomers, including strong safety Clarence Vaughn, cornerback Brian Davis and tight end Glenn Dennison, did well. The team finished the preseason with a 3-1 record, building momentum for next Sunday's game with Philadelphia.
But then there were the injuries, as if the Redskins needed some more. The worst happened to offensive tackle Mark May, who suffered a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee in the second quarter and was replaced by rookie Ed Simmons. May's injury is the same one defensive end Dexter Manley suffered Aug. 8, and Manley has not yet returned to practice.
"It's the same old thing we've been through before this preseason," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "Mark's defied the odds before, but this next week, it looks like Simmons may start for us."
Others who were injured were wide receivers Clarence Verdin (pulled right hamstring) and Derek Holloway (sprained right big toe); third-string quarterback Mark Rypien (sprained back); Vaughn (mild concussion); guard Rick Kehr (sprained foot); defensive end Charles Mann (drained knee fluid); and linebacker Ravin Caldwell (abdominal strain).
The Redskins must pare 15 players from their roster by Monday to reach the final 45-man limit. Some of these injuries, especially those to May, Verdin, Holloway and Rypien, might figure in the team's injured reserve decisions.
After falling behind, 7-0, the Redskins scored 13 second-quarter points on two Jess Atkinson field goals -- one a bank shot off the left upright, then the crossbar -- and Schroeder's one-yard quarterback sneak.
Running back Charles White put the Rams ahead again, 14-13, in the third quarter before two more Washington touchdowns, a one-yard run by rookie Timmy Smith and a five-yard catch by rookie tight end Craig McEwen.
"I thought we played very well," said Schroeder. "We moved the ball the way we wanted to. I'm ready to start. After three or four preseason games, I'm ready. That's long enough."
The Redskins scored their first touchdown and took the lead for the first time with no time left in the first half. After taking over on an Eric Dickerson fumble at the Washington 19, the Redskins moved to the 4 with a first down and 43 seconds remaining.
They also had all three timeouts left. They would be important. Each would be needed.
On first down, upback Reggie Branch, who usually blocks in goal-line situations, dove over the line for three yards.
Time out, Washington. On second down, Smith went left for nothing. Nine seconds left. Another time out. On third down, Smith ran right and again got stopped cold just short of the goal line.
The Redskins called their final time out on fourth down with four seconds left. This was not a happy group of Redskins that met in the huddle. Schroeder called his own number this time, taking the snap and sneaking into the end zone. But just barely. In fact, it took the officials 30 seconds and one meeting before they decided Schroeder in fact had made it in. Gibbs, appearing quite upset with the late touchdown call, was 15 yards onto the field complaining before the call was made.
So, at halftime, the Redskins led, 13-7, but it wasn't easy.
The Rams drove to their first touchdown after Atkinson's 27-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Alvin Wright six minutes into the game.
The Rams offense is no longer known as Eric Dickerson and 10 other players, although Dickerson still is the focal point. In their 10-play, 80-yard drive to running back Mike Guman's one-yard scoring plunge, Dickerson ran six times for 14 yards -- the Redskins kept him under control.
But they couldn't stop quarterback Jim Everett. He gained six yards on a scramble for a first down, then flicked a perfect strike to running back Buford McGee streaking out of the backfield for a 22-yard gain.
On third down and nine moments later, Everett completed a 24-yard pass to wide receiver Ron Brown. That took the ball to the Washington 22. After a seven-yard catch by tight end David Hill, Dickerson ran three times, taking the ball to the 1. From there, on third-and-one, Guman burrowed into the middle of his line for the touchdown with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter.
The Redskins scored on the first of two second-quarter Atkinson field goals on their first possession of the period. Pinned back in his end zone, Dale Hatcher punted to the Rams 44. The Redskins managed one first down on a 15-yard catch by wide receiver Art Monk before settling for a 37-yard field goal with 11:07 left in the half.
The Redskins came within one point, 7-6, nine minutes later on Atkinson's 30-yard field goal following a 61-yard drive.
Los Angeles gave the Redskins the ball on their very next play from scrimmage when Mann stripped the ball from Dickerson. It was recovered by middle linebacker Rich Milot at the 19, setting up the Washington touchdown.
Schroeder was sacked for an eight-yard loss on the first play, but soon found Dennison on a 19-yard pass to the 4, setting up the final four plays for the touchdown.
The Rams and Redskins each scored a touchdown in the third quarter. The Rams regained the lead, 14-13, with 5:17 left in the third quarter on White's two-yard scoring run. The touchdown was set up by strong safety Vince Newsome's spectacular interception.
A poor Hatcher punt late in the period set up the Redskins' touchdown, Smith's one-yard run with 25 seconds left. The Redskins took over at their 37 after a 31-yard punt. Doug Williams threw 12 yards to wide receiver Ricky Sanders and 13 yards to Dennison during the drive.
The Redskins added another touchdown with 8:33 remaining in the game on McEwen's catch.