Patrick Ramsey was back at the helm of the Redskins' offense on Sunday and the third-year quarterback provided a late spark in a comeback from a 17-0 deficit to the Cincinnati Bengals. But it wasn't enough.
The Redskins lost 17-10 to the Bengals and dropped to 3-6 on the season.
On the injury front, defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin left the game in the first half with a hip flexor. He did not return and is scheduled to have a MRI on Monday. Also, after the opening kickoff, linebacker Khary Campbell left the game after suffering a left knee injury. It's likely that Campbell will require surgery and be out for the season.
Head coach Joe Gibbs made the switch from Mark Brunell to Ramsey midway through the second quarter. Brunell was 1-8 for six yards on the Redskins' first four offensive drives of the game.
"I went over to talk to Mark and I think he understood," Gibbs said after the game. "It was one of those things where it was my decision and I felt like we need to make it at that point to give Patrick a shot."
Said Brunell: "It's tough--I've never had to face this before. I was a little bit surprised by the move, but Coach Gibbs has been doing this a long time. When he makes the call, then that's the way it's going to be."
Ramsey struggled early--he was sacked four times and intercepted once in the second half--but still managed to guide the Redskins' offense to 10 points late in the fourth quarter.
He connected with H-back Chris Cooley for a 9-yard touchdown pass with 2:10 left in the game. The Redskins' defense stuffed the Bengals on the next drive and the offense had one last chance to tie the game. But Ramsey's deep pass down the left sideline was intercepted by Kim Herring, ending the game.
Ramsey finished the game 18-of-37 for 210 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
"We put him in a tough situation," Gibbs said. "You're behind and not playing well, so I think you put pressure on yourself. Obviously he threw a few poor passes in there--when you're trying to make something happen, that's what happens. But I also felt like he made some real good plays. He had real poise."
Added Ramsey: "I think my performance was average. There are some plays that I missed and things that I would have liked to have done. I think early I felt rusty. I got loose in the second half and I felt a little better out there."
The Redskins' defense got the game off to a strong start. On the first play, Sean Taylor intercepted a deep pass from Carson Palmer to Chad Johnson along the right sideline. Taylor leaped up high in the air and caught the ball falling backward.
But the Redskins' offense was unable to gain any momentum. On the offense's second possession, Brunell was intercepted by linebacker Brian Simmons. The turnover helped set up Cincinnati's first touchdown, a 1-yard run by running back Rudi Johnson.
On the Redskins' next series, Brunell and Clinton Portis led the offense downfield to the Bengals' 36-yard line. The drive stalled and Gibbs decided to go for it on fourth down. Brunell's pass to Coles fell incomplete and Cincinnati took over.
The Bengals promptly drove downfield on a 13-play, 63-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard touchdown pass from Palmer to tight end Tony Stewart.
Bengals' kicker Shayne Graham added a 41-yard field goal to push the lead to 17-0 at halftime.
The Redskins' best opportunity in the first half may have been in the final minutes when cornerback Walt Harris intercepted a pass by Bengals' quarterback Carson Palmer and returned it 31 yards to the Bengals' 48-yard line.
Ramsey quickly completed a 19-yard pass over the middle to Laveranues Coles, putting the Redskins in field goal range. Ramsey was sacked for a 7-yard loss on the next play and the drive stalled shortly thereafter.
Cincinnati's 17-0 lead held up until the 5-minute mark of the fourth quarter when Ola Kimrin connected on a 33-yard field goal.
But the deficit was too much for Ramsey and the Redskins to overcome.
"We have a tough bunch of guys," Gibbs said. "They've been very competitive every week. They tried hard. Here in the second half, they came back from really digging ourselves a big hole there. They continued to fight. I admired the fight in our guys."