Originally created 09/15/03

Redskins edge Falcons



ATLANTA -- Patrick Ramsey and Laveranues Coles picked themselves off the Georgia Dome turf and led the Washington Redskins to an improbable victory.

After taking a terrible beating in the first half, Ramsey threw for a career-high 356 yards and two touchdowns as the Redskins rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 33-31 on Sunday.

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

Washington is 2-0 for the first time since 1991, the season of its last Super Bowl championship. This team showed plenty of guts against the Falcons (1-1), who failed to give coach Dan Reeves his 200th career victory.

Ramsey was sacked five times in the opening 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 Redskins.

Falcons quarterback Doug Johnson, starting again in place of the injured Michael Vick, had a terrible day against his former college coach, Washington's Steve Spurrier. 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 out 5-of-8 for 93 yards - then completed only 11 of 28 for 104 yards the rest of the way. Ifeanyi Ohalete intercepted an underthrown pass and returned it 30 yards to the Atlanta 1 to set up Rock Cartwright's touchdown run, which cut the deficit to 17-14 with just under six minutes left in the first half.

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

After Cartwright's touchdown, the Falcons appeared to regain control on their next possession, which began 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, who kicked a game-winning field goal against the New York Jets in Week 1, connected from 54 yards with just 12 seconds left in the half, pulling the Redskins to 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.