-- The post-Stephen Davis era may have arrived for the Washington Redskins today but the early returns were less than overwhelming, as rookie running back Ladell Betts managed only 49 yards on 16 rushing attempts in a 34-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Betts also missed connections with rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey on a third-quarter fumble that the Eagles returned for a critical touchdown.
"For a rookie, he ran up in there hard," Redskins Coach Steve Spurrier said. "Unfortunately the fumble hurt us."
Betts was facing one of the league's stingiest defenses, but Davis had 24 rushing yards on the first two plays of the game before dislocating his right shoulder. Kenny Watson, the Redskins' other backup tailback, ran for nine yards on four carries.
"They're a good football team," Betts said. "They came at us on defense today. We just have to step it up earlier. We've been coming back in the fourth quarter the past two games, but it hasn't been enough. We have to be able to play hard the whole game."
Eagles linebacker Carlos Emmons said he had told teammate Hugh Douglas that he would score his first NFL touchdown in this game. And Emmons ran 44 yards for a touchdown after falling on the ball after the botched handoff between Ramsey and Betts, then getting up when no Redskins player touched him.
"It was kind of like a gift," Emmons said of the play that made it 24-7. "Nobody touched me, and I knew it. I was like, 'I have to get up.' I really thought when I got up they were going to tackle me, but nobody did. I told Hugh Douglas that this is the game that I'm going to score in. I said, 'I think this is the one, and hopefully I get it on the 20 so I don't have to run that far.' "
Emmons said his next task is to work on his touchdown celebration.
"You don't have plans when you never make it," he said. "Now maybe since I've been there before, I'll come up with something for the next time. I always said that if I got the chance to score, don't get pushed out at the 2."
Spurrier declined to challenge the play and television replays backed the decision.
"All of our guys said nobody jumped on him," Spurrier said. "The refs were right there watching. I guess our guys were watching, too."
'I'm Not Quitting'
Spurrier questioned whether some of his players gave a solid effort today. But several Redskins players said they have not surrendered on the season even though the club is ensured its first losing season since 1998.
"I'm not quitting," linebacker LaVar Arrington said. "I don't care if we lose the rest of these games. I can't not fight."
Said defensive tackle Daryl Gardener: "There's fight in me. People can watch and see what I'm doing out there, and come fight with me. I can only talk about myself." . . .
Eagles return man Brian Mitchell moved past Walter Payton into second place, behind Jerry Rice, among the NFL's career leaders in combined net yards. Mitchell has 21,912 yards on rushes, catches and returns.
Bailey: Fumble Frustrations
Champ Bailey fumbled a punt for a second straight game.
"It's frustrating," Bailey said. "I keep putting myself in bad positions. I just took my eye off the ball. That's a simple step as far as catching anything." . . .
The Redskins gave Tre Johnson a start at right guard in his most extensive action of the season. He later gave way to Wilbert Brown, but said: "It was good. It was fun. I always picture myself as a starter." . . .
The Eagles are 10-0 against NFC opponents this season, including 5-0 in division games. But Arrington was reserved in his praise when asked how he thinks Philadelphia stacks up against the NFC's other heavyweights.
"That might be the best defense I've seen, but I don't know about the whole team," Arrington said. "They're a solid team. They'll make a good run at it."
The Eagles have won consecutive NFC East titles for the first time in franchise history. They're the first repeat division champions since the Dallas Cowboys won five straight crowns from 1992 to '96. The Redskins could only watch the Eagles and their fans celebrate.
"Believe me, it will be ours next year," said Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot.