Redskins 16, Jets 13
Friday, September 5th 2003, 12:00 am
News On 6
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) _ John Hall wanted the chance to kick a game-winning field goal against his former team.
He thought about it for months, envisioning different scenarios. They all ended the same way: in victory.
Hall got the opportunity he craved in the NFL season opener Thursday night and came through. He kicked a 33-yarder with 5 seconds remaining to lift the Washington Redskins past the New York Jets 16-13.
The win meant vindication for Hall, Laveranues Coles, Chad Morton and Randy Thomas. They finally could brag about jumping from the Jets to the Redskins in the offseason.
``It's pretty much one of those stupid things you do when you're done practicing,'' Hall said. ``You make up those situations where you have this or that _ and I'm sure you know which team it was against.''
Hall also had kicks of 50 and 22 yards to help the JetSkins take bragging rights.
Coles also contributed in a big way, with five receptions for 106 yards _ though they all came in the first half. The former Jets-turned-Redskins story line dominated talk throughout the week leading up to the game.
How fitting, then, that Hall won it.
Coach Steve Spurrier handed a game ball to Hall and owner Daniel Snyder, whose offseason spending made the acquisition of Coles, Morton, Hall and Thomas possible.
``It just goes to show that sometimes the grass is greener on the other side,'' said Coles, who jawed at his former teammates and stared at the Jets sideline after making big plays.
Thomas could not resist looking at his former teammates after the kick sailed through.
``To see those guys with their faces down when the kick went in, it was a lovely feeling,'' Thomas said.
Surprisingly, the game turned into a defensive struggle. Washington led 13-7 at halftime and looked far superior offensively. Coles was wide open throughout the half, and Patrick Ramsey went 12-of-13 for 156 yards.
But in the second half, the Jets tightened their coverage on Coles and limited Ramsey, who finished 17-of-23 for 185 yards. Donnie Abraham had an interception and John Abraham caused a fumble that Jason Ferguson recovered to put the Jets back in the game.
Unfortunately for the Jets, they were only able to get field goals by Doug Brien to tie the game at 13. Then the defining offensive series. With four minutes remaining, the Jets had a chance to go down the field and set up the winning score.
On third-and-1 at their own 27, LaMont Jordan and Vinny Testaverde had a miscommunication on the handoff, and Jordan lost 4 yards. The Jets punted, and Washington had the opportunity to win it.
``I take full responsibility for that,'' Testaverde said. ``It's my job to get him the ball and make sure he gets it clean.''
Following the two-minute warning, Ramsey made one of the biggest plays of the game. With no one open, he scrambled 24 yards to the Jets 31.
Ladell Betts carried three times for 17 yards to wind down the clock for Hall's attempt.
``It's a tough loss,'' coach Herman Edwards said. ``When you get it tied up like that, you hope you're the team to make the play at the end, but we couldn't quite do that.''
Testaverde finished 15-of-24 for 105 yards, while Curtis Martin only had 48 yards on 15 carries. The Jets managed just 158 total yards to Washington's 327 thanks to a conservative game plan.
Considering how the Jets offense played, it could be a long season until Chad Pennington returns. Testaverde, who turns 40 in November, is filling in while Pennington recovers from a broken and dislocated left wrist.
Part of the reason the Jets could not generate much was the outstanding play of linebacker LaVar Arrington. He chased down players, turning potential long gains into short ones. His stats _ six tackles and one batted pass _ did not show the difference he made.
As for the Redskins, they definitely benefited from their offseason moves. Without all four players, the Redskins would not have won the game.
``Thank goodness Mr. Snyder went out and got us a heck of a kicker,'' said Spurrier, who went through three kickers last season. ``The way our kicking situation was last year, I don't see us winning this game.''