Washington stumbles to embarrassing 37-7 loss to EaglesPosted: Tuesday September 17, 2002 12:32 AM
Updated: Tuesday September 17, 2002 4:23 AM
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- The only scare on a near-perfect night for the Philadelphia Eagles came when the smell of pepper spray sent them scurrying off the bench.
The Eagles routed the Washington Redskins 37-7 on Monday, sending head coach Steve Spurrier to his worst loss in more than six years.
"We got clobbered," Spurrier said. "We never could go anywhere. They beat us every which way."
Philadelphia held Washington's offense to 179 yards and zero points and did not allow the Redskins past the Eagles' 35-yard line. The Eagles also had four sacks and forced three turnovers.
Donovan McNabb and the offense did the rest.
"The coaches showed us a lot of stuff this week in practice," Eagles cornerback Bobby Taylor said. "Sometimes it was a bit overwhelming. ... They gave us a full dose, and it gave us a chance to show what we can do."
In the fourth quarter, pepper spray used by police to break up a fight in the stands spread to the Eagles sideline. Several players vomited, but the spray soon dissipated and play resumed after an eight-minute delay.
"I looked up and saw what was going on and just started hearing people scream," Philadelphia wide receiver Antonio Freeman said. "I had so many thoughts about post-9-11 and this being such a big game in D.C."
This was Spurrier's worst coaching defeat since Florida's 62-24 loss to Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, 1996. He had only one other loss by 30 or more points with the Gators: 45-3 at Tennessee in 1990.
Washington's only score came on Jacquez Green's 90-yard punt return in the second quarter.
The Eagles beat Spurrier at his own game. They went long on their first play and kept the Redskins off guard with a mix of formations. McNabb threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, completing 26 of 38 passes for 292 yards. He also ran for 36 yards on five carries.
It was a change of pace from last week, when the Eagles blew a 24-10 lead by going conservative in the second half in a 27-24 loss to Tennessee. Monday night's result left all four teams in the NFC East at 1-1.
"A lot of people counted us out, but as a football team we still had the mind-set that we are the NFC East champs," McNabb said.
For the Redskins, it didn't matter who was at quarterback. Danny Wuerffel played the second half after Shane Matthews bruised his non-throwing shoulder late in the first half. Matthews was 10-of-22 for 62 yards with an interception. Wuerffel was 6-of-9 for 57 yards with one interception and four sacks.
Spurrier said Matthews will start next week at San Francisco. But the performances by his quarterbacks were so weak, he hinted he might rush along first-round draft pick Patrick Ramsey.
The pepper spray delay came with 6:38 remaining. The Eagles scattered from their bench onto the field. Players and fans in the stands on that side of the stadium held their noses, their faces reflecting concerns about safety and security. Play resumed after a brief meeting between referee Bob McElwee and a uniformed officer.
A police officer had intervened in a fight and a "small amount of pepper spray" was used to move the fans back, Redskins spokesman Karl Swanson said. The cooling fans on the Philadelphia bench helped spread the spray.
Swanson initially said the officer was injured, but the Redskins later said the officer was not hurt. No arrests were made.
Spurrier showed a range of emotions, from wiping away tears following a moment of silence for Johnny Unitas to lots of face-rubbing, head-scratching and lip-pursing as the offense went awry. He was without his trademark visor because it was a night game.
The sure sign that things weren't going right: Spurrier gave cornerback Champ Bailey his first offensive touch since 2000 on a pitch reverse. But Bailey fumbled on a hit by Carlos Emmons, leading to a Philadelphia field goal.
On the first drive, the Eagles were a thing of beauty. James Thrash lost cornerback Fred Smoot on the first play and caught a pass for a 33-yard gain. Todd Pinkston caught a 26-yarder over Darrell Green, and McNabb capped the six-play, 80-yard drive by scrambling outside Pro Bowl linebackers LaVar Arrington, Jeremiah Trotter and Jessie Armstead for eight yards into the end zone.
On the second drive, McNabb suckered Armstead into leaving Duce Staley alone for a 22-yard reception. The Redskins forced the Eagles to kick a field goal, but Arrington jumped offside to give the Eagles first-and-goal. McNabb tossed a 2-yard TD pass to tight end Jeff Thomason.
Early in the third quarter, McNabb hit Thrash with a 39-yard TD pass to make it 30-7. Dorsey Levens had a 47-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Notes: The Redskins are 1-6 in their last seven Monday night games. ... The Eagles are 6-0 in prime time under head coach Andy Reid. ... Philadelphia running back Brian Westbrook left the game with
bruised ribs in the second half. ... Green's punt return was the second longest in Redskins history. Bill Dudley ran one back 96 yards in 1950.