Mistakes cost Washington in 27-6 loss to Atlanta
Updated: Saturday August 18, 2001 2:32 AM
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- If young quarterbacks learn from their mistakes, then a whole lot of learning took place Friday night.
Michael Vick, the most watched and cheered of the group -- even though he was playing for the visiting team -- had a thrilling 28-yard scramble but completed just 3-for-7 passes for 22 yards. He put too much steam on his short passes and was intercepted on a desperate downfield heave at the end of a long scramble.
"Guys were four and five yards downfield and I'm throwing bullets," said Vick, the No. 1 overall draft pick. "You can't do that because it makes it tough for them. That's something I'm definitely going to work on this week."
And, of course, his interception was even more cause of learning.
"You can't take those plays back," Vick said. "All you can do is learn from them and continue to move forward."
Ray Buchanan had interceptions off both Redskins quarterbacks, Todd Husak and Sage Rosenfels, and returned one for a touchdown. Jamal Anderson scored twice, on a 1-yard run and a 5-yard reception, for the Falcons (2-1).
But it was Atlanta's defense that ruled the night, almost by default, because of the Redskins messy quarterback situation.
With Jeff George still nursing tendinitis in his shoulder, the Redskins (0-2) started second-year player Husak, who has a strained rib muscle. Husak had his second straight poor outing -- a tentative 4-for-6 with an interception -- and is in danger of losing his roster spot to Tony Banks, who was signed Thursday and will make his debut next week.
"It's going to take a lot more this to shake my confidence," Husak said. "I truly believe I'm going to be a good quarterback in this league. It's too bad I picked this time to miss that throw. I haven't missed that throw all camp."
Husak lasted about a quarter and was replaced by fourth-round draft pick Rosenfels, whose first play was a touchdown for the Falcons. Rosenfels tried to hit Michael Westbrook, but Buchanan stepped in front and took the ball 31 yards for a touchdown.
Vick, the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Falcons, played the third quarter. He completed his first two passes, but his last attempt was the downfield toss intercepted by safety Martavius Houston.
All the youthful quarterback errors made Falcons 35-year-old starter Chris Chandler look practically like an All-Star. Playing the first half, Chandler completed 4 of 7 passes for 76 yards, including a 46-yard pass to Shawn Jefferson that beat Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey and set up a touchdown.
In addition to three interceptions and several more near interceptions, the Falcons also blocked two kicks. The Redskins wore their burgundy jerseys at home for the first time in 21 years, but their faces had to be red as the fans booed them off the field at the end of the first half.
"The most disappointing thing to me was our placement protection," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I'm going to fix it. I may have to send some people out of here, but I'm going to fix it."
The Redskins took the opening kickoff and drove to Atlanta's 29-yard line, but Shane Dronett blocked Brett Conway's 47-yard field goal attempt.
Washington's next drive ended with Husak's ill-advised, back-footed pass that went straight to Buchanan. The Falcons converted the turnover into a 43-yard field goal by Jake Arians, who is battling rookie Jay Feely for the kicker's job.
The Falcons made it 10-0 on Anderson's 1-yard run, one play after Jefferson's long reception against Bailey.
Buchanan's touchdown runback made it 17-0 before Rosenfels got the Redskins on the board with a 60-yard scoring drive capped by Ki-Jana Carter's 38-yard run. Conway's extra point attempt was blocked by Travis Hall.
But Rosenfels was intercepted again in his next series. Linebacker Matt Stewart tipped the ball, and safety Marty Carter came down with it. Five plays later, Chandler hit Anderson on a swing pass for a 5-yard score.
Arians' 44-yard field goal in the fourth quarter completed the scoring. That drive was led by second-year quarterback Doug Johnson, the game's only twentysomething passer not to throw an interception.
"I'm pleased with our quarterback position," head coach Dan Reeves said.
Schottenheimer must be envious.
Notes: Washington tackle Chris Samuels pulled a hip muscle, and running back Stephen Davis sprained a toe. X-rays on both were negative. ... Atlanta injuries: Receiver Shawn Mills jammed his neck, and Chandler broke a tooth when he was hit sliding on the turf.