Bengals 24, Redskins 17: Keim's Take

There was the good: Patrick Ramsey threw for 190 yards and a 25-yard touchdown pass. He looked deep left, then threw back toward the middle to a streaking James Thrash, coming from the slot.And there was the bad:

Ramsey threw two interceptions, making bad throws and bad decisions. On the first, Ramsey tried to hit Thrash again in the back of the end zone. But he was covered and the pass was picked off. On the second, Ramsey overthrew Santana Moss, right into the arms of a defender, who was sitting there as if he expected the pass.

So what to make of Ramsey's second preseason outing, in which he completed nine of 18 passes for 190 yards in Washington's 24-17 loss to Cincinnati? It appeared to be more of the same from what we've seen in camp practices as well as the first preseason game against Carolina.

''You can place the blame for the interceptions on me,'' said Ramsey. ''If we do what we did tonight without the turnovers, it's a successful night for all of us.''

Oh, but they didn't do it without turnovers. Washington turned the ball over three times and has turned it over seven times in two games. That's why coach Joe Gibbs was upset afterward. Until he sees the film he doesn't like to say too much about a players' performance. But he was clear on the turnovers.

''Right now, we're our own worst enemy,'' Gibbs said. ''We refuse to protect the football. Until we get that point acorss, we're fighting an uphill battle.''

And he's clear that Ramsey is his guy. That's not even in doubt, despite Ramsey's inconsistent showing.

''Patrick did some real good things,'' Gibbs said. ''He made some deep passes and made some key plays. Then we turned the ball over. Patrick knows he can't do that. Quarterbacks go through a lot of emotional things. Unless they have a tough outer shell they may not make it in this league. They are subject to criticism. Quarterbacks know it's part of the position.''

Ramsey knows this, but he also seems to understand the pressure he's under. After his touchdown he threw his fist in the air as if it were a regular-season score. Part of that stems from his competitive instincts. But he also admitted later that he felt a bit of relief.

We'll discount some of what we saw from Mark Brunell. He was playing against backups and that makes a difference. Of course, three of Washington's backups dropped passes thrown by him so it cuts both ways.

Still, Brunell again showed poise and again looked better than in any preseason game last year. There's a rhythm to the offense when he's running it; maybe it's because he's facing backups. We might find out early in the season if Ramsey continues playing this way.

Gibbs emphasizes production. Well, Ramsey has led 12 drives; seven have ended in punts, three with interceptions, one in a field goal and one in a touchdown. That's not good. But we're not sure how long it will be acceptable.

Remember, Gibbs is slow to hook his quarterback. But also remember this: Ramsey really isn't his ''guy''; that honor belongs to Brunell and Jason Campbell.

Offensive star: Receiver David Patten. The more I see, the more I like. He gets open and has a rhythm with Ramsey. Patten caught three passes for 109 yards. Though he's small, he's hard to bump off stride because he's very strong. His arms are as ripped as any receiver in the league.

Offensive goat: Considering how much is at stake, we'd like to see more out of Ramsey. Two dumb interceptions was not the way to show you're ready to be the No. 1 guy. He did a better job at times of looking off defensive backs -- did it on at least three occasions for completions, including his touchdown. But just when he seems to have turned a corner, he makes another foolish throw. That hasn't changed during his tenure.

Defensive player of the game: Carlos Rogers. He did nothing more than his job on the interception, dropping into zone coverage and capitalizing on Carson Palmer's throwing right at him. But Rogers also showed tenacity, coming up hard on some plays and did a decent job covering Chad Johnson.

Special mention: The best defensive player on the field was linebacker Marcus Washington. He plays with so much energy, even in a preseason game and made several plays coming from the backside.

Defensive goat: Rogers. Yes, he was both. He was beaten two plays in a row on the fade; one was dropped and the second caught for a touchdown. But give him a bit of slack -- Rogers is still working into shape and it showed on some of the fade routes. He was beaten on both and he ran heavy-legged on both, particularly the second one.

Helped: Defensive end Nic Clemons applied pressure, batted down a pass; Aki Jones continues to show enough to at least merit practice squad consideration; running back Rock Cartwright snapped off a few nice runs -- it helped having the first line working against a second defense; running back Nehemiah Broughton continued to move piles and run over smaller guys, just as they hoped to see; defensive end Charles Howard recorded a sack.

Hurt: Receiver Jamin Elliott, running back Jonathan Combs and receiver Jimmy Ferris all dropped passes from Mark Brunell in one fourth-quarter series. . . . Corner Garnell Wilds was beaten for a touchdown pass and whiffed on a blitz attempt. He got in for a near sack, but didn't finish and the pass was completed to the area he vacated; Broughton -- yes he also hurt his stock -- fumbled on a screen with less than two minutes left in the game which a backup RB can't do.

Big hit: Khary Campbell caused a fumble on a kickoff return, but Clifton Smith tried to pick it up and run rather than just falling on the ball. Cincy recovered. Smith later had a nice hit on a kick return.

Speed: Linebacker Robert McCune showed he can close the gap pretty fast. He's decisive and that matters for any player. He nearly tackled Kenny Watson in the backfield for a loss, but Watson shook him. However, Watson was still tackled for no gain. McCune later had a nice hit on a fourth-quarter run. Seemed to play a good game.

Dangerous: Antonio Brown is a danger for both teams. He doesn't catch the ball cleanly on punts, causing him to fumble one return (that he turned into a 17-yard gain, getting an excellent block from Brandon Barnes). He nearly fumbled the next kickoff because he doesn't catch it by forming a basket. Rather, he seems to sometimes catch it with his hands in front of his face.

Did you notice: How afraid Cincy's punters were of Brown? After his first return, they tried to kick away from him and wound up with a 31-yard punt out of bounds.

Ouch: Clinton Portis (elbow) and punter Tom Tupa (back) were late scratches.


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