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Coles grabs 11 for 180 yards

9/15/2003

ATLANTA (AP) -- This looked more like a Steve Spurrier-coached
team.

Patrick Ramsey threw the ball all over the field, Laveranues
Coles had a career receiving day and the Washington Redskins
rallied from a 17-point deficit to stun the Atlanta Falcons 33-31
on Sunday.

Question on the Redskins: Should we now believe in Spurrier and the Redskins' offense?
Spurrier has done a good job of sublimating his ego and running the ball more. But I think we need to wait until they play better teams before we start talking about how great the Ol' Ball Coach is.

Question on the Falcons: Is the secondary a major hinderance or is the whole defense shaky?
The front seven on this team is actually good. But the secondary is causing them to falter because of their inability to do their job. Their play stops the defense from blitzing on third downs and putting pressure on the offense.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Quite a change from Week 1, when Spurrier's "Fun 'n' Gun"
offense went conservative in a 16-13 victory over the New York
Jets.

"We thought the opportunity was there to throw it a little bit
more," Spurrier said. "Their linebackers and safeties are very
involved in stopping the run. They play up close to the line. We
thought that was something we could take advantage of."

After taking a terrible beating in the first half, Ramsey threw
for a career-high 356 yards and two touchdowns. Coles, shaken up
early when his head rammed the leg of Falcons safety Kevin McCadam,
recovered to set career highs with 11 catches for 180 yards.

Coles had the clinching touchdown on a 19-yard reception with
12:47 to go.

"Whenever things aren't going well, I want to be the guy who
steps up and makes things happen," said Coles, acquired by owner
Daniel Snyder during an offseason spending spree.

Washington is 2-0 for the first time since 1991, the season of
its last Super Bowl championship. The Falcons (1-1) failed to give
coach Dan Reeves his 200th career victory and squandered a chance
to win their first two games for only the second time in 17 years.

"I guess Atlanta forgot there are four quarters in a game,"
Redskins safety Matt Bowen said. "Their players were talking smack
and their fans were talking noise, and guess who won the game?"

The Redskins defense came up big, too. Ifeanyi Ohalete set up a
touchdown with a 30-yard interception return. Jessie Armstead
sacked Doug Johnson in the end zone for a safety that put
Washington ahead for good. And Champ Bailey held Peerless Price to
only two catches for 28 yards.

"Every week, they give me the assignment to shut somebody
down," Bailey said, "and that's what I do."

Ramsey was sacked five times in the first half, losing the ball
a couple of times. Ed Jasper scooped up one of the fumbles at the
Washington 1, setting up T.J. Duckett's second touchdown of the
game. Cheered on by a raucous sellout crowd, the Falcons led 17-0
with less than two minutes gone in the second quarter.

After that, it was all Ramsey and the Redskins.

"For a guy who's only been in the league two years, he showed a
lot of composure," Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking said. "We
put a lot of hits on him, but he kept picking himself up. I have a
lot of respect for him."

Johnson, starting again in place of the injured Michael Vick,
had a terrible day against his former college coach. The two had a
contentious relationship at Florida, where Spurrier benched the
strong-armed quarterback several times.

Johnson looked like he deserved to be a backup Sunday. He
started 5-of-8 for 93 yards -- then completed only 11 of 28 for 104
yards the rest of the way.

"We stalled on a lot of drives and kept giving the ball back to
them," Johnson said. "You can't really expect your defense to
keep getting the ball back for us."

In the final minute of the third quarter, Armstead blew through
a gaping hole and smothered Johnson in the end zone, putting
Washington ahead to stay at 26-24.

Ohalete's interception led to Rock Cartwright's 1-yard
touchdown, which pulled the Redskins to 17-14. The Falcons appeared
to regain control on their next possession, starting at the
Redskins 39 when Allen Rossum returned the kickoff 52 yards. Two
big runs by Warrick Dunn set up Johnson's 1-yard touchdown pass to
Alge Crumpler.

But John Hall connected from 54 yards with just 12 seconds left
in the first half, making it 24-17.

The second half was total domination by Washington. Ramsey tied
it with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Rod Gardner in the third
quarter, completing a 10-play, 76-yard drive. Gardner gave the
Redskins a second 100-yard receiver, catching nine passes for 118.

Johnson had one last hurrah, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass
to Jimmy Farris with 2:22 remaining. But the Falcons failed to
recover an onside kick and the Redskins ran out all but the final
19 seconds.

Game notes
The Falcons converted only 1-of-11 third-down plays. ...
The Redskins outgained the Falcons 146 yards to 7 in the third
quarter. ... Washington allowed only 7 yards rushing in the second
half. ... There appeared to be no significant injuries on either
team. ... Armstead had two sacks and seven tackles.

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