Packers-Redskins

For the second week in a row, a Packers' defense depleted by injuries turned in a turnover-driven performance to tame another potentially dangerous offense. This time it was the Washington Redskins led by offensive-minded head coach Steve Spurrier, and the result was a 30-9 victory for the Packers headed into the bye week.<p>

Redskins' rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey fumbled six times in the game while the Redskins lost four fumbles as a team and failed to reach the end zone, leaving Spurrier with a long, frustrated look on his face for much of the game.

"With Spurrier's offense, we were kind of expecting that he has all kinds of tricks up his sleeve," said safety Marques Anderson. "I think our defense did a helluva job."

Saying the defensive performance was a team effort may sound like a cliche, but contributions were coming from everyone. It was linebacker Nate Wayne with an active 16-tackle, one-sack, one-forced fumble, one-fumble recovery effort. It was defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila with eight tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble in the second start of his career. It was safety Marques Anderson continuing to make plays that rookies do not always make, nearly intercepting a fourth-quarter pass that would have went for a touchdown. It was defensive tackle Gilbert Brown busting up a Ramsey quarterback sneak attempt on fourth down to turn the ball over to the Packer offense. The list could go on and on.

The Packers now lead the NFL with 23 takeaways, a major reason they are 6-1, atop the NFC North.

"We just believe the energy of 11 guys always seeking it, looking for the right time... we always want to tackle well... is really powerful," said defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. "This is something we did last year, too."

"It is a conscious effort," added Wayne. "The coaches put so much emphasis on it that we have to go out and get the ball and give it back to th e offense."

Donatell and several Packers' defenders said the Redskins came out and surprised them with some of the plays they ran on offense early in the game. They ran on 23 of their 38 first-half plays and ran five reverses during the course of the game.

"They did some 'unscouted' stuff at the beginning, and they got us going a little bit, but it's hard to say what they are because they are new to the league," said Donatell. "It's not like we know Spurrier real well."

For the most part, the Redskins were not able to fool the Packers with much and could not make any adjustments in the second half to sustain many drives.

"They switched it up a little bit, but I think we did a great job reacting to it," said Wayne.

At one point in the second half, the Redskins turned the ball over on three consecutive drives, just after kicker James Tuthill made a 31-yard field goal to cut the Packers lead to 17-9 with 5:55 remaining in the third quarter. Wayne and linebacker Hardy Nickerson combined to sack Ramsey, forci ng a fumble that Wayne recovered, and cornerback Tod McBride and Gbaja-Biamila forced fumbles that led to ten points in the fourth quarter.

The Packers were again without arguably their best two defensive players, defensive backs Mike McKenzie and Darren Sharper, who are expected to return on Nov. 4 against the Miami Dolphins. McKenzie has missed the last three games with a groin injury and Sharper the last two with a hamstring injury.


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