Studs and Duds

<strong>Defensive player of the game:</strong><BR> Redskins end Bruce Smith. OK, he wasn't facing an All-Pro tackle in Chester Pitts. But Smith looked spry in chasing down ballcarriers from the backside. He also recorded two sacks, leaving him four shy of Reggie White.

Offensive players of the game: Ladell Betts and Kenny Watson. The running backs combined for 226 yards, becoming the first Redskins backs to surpass 100 yards in the same game since Keith Griffin and George Rogers in 1985. Betts and Watson made defenders miss, showed patience and hit the hole hard.

Special nod to: Right guard Tre Johnson. He played the entire game and Washington ran his way often, with good reason. He kept opening holes. Johnson's surgically-repaired knee still isn't 100 percent, but a strong offseason would do him wonders.

Special nod to: Linebacker Jessie Armstead. Continues to be active and plays with lots of emotion. What a good guy for the other players to learn from. Shawn Barber might be playing well in Philly, but Armstead has been more than an adequate replacement.

Nice recovery: One week after he was awful, safety David Terrell intercepted one pass and nearly picked off another. He still needs to be replaced for Washington to improve defensively, but he's a good guy and had a nice day.

Key stats: Washington outgained Houston, 437-166. . . The Redskins controlled the ball for 36:58 . . . The Redskins are 3-0 when they don't commit a turnover.

Big catch: Receiver Derrius Thompson made a highlight catch that resulted in a touchdown just before halftime, giving Washington a 16-3 lead. Defender Kevin Williams jumped in front of Thompson, trying to intercept the pass. But Thompson wasn't distracted. He grabbed the high pass and scored untouched.

Ugh: The kicking game is horrific and could cause Washington trouble next season. Think about it--the Redskins must find a returner, a punter and a field goal kicker for 2003. All you have to do is look at this season to realize what a chore that will be. We're guessing Spurrier won't underestimate the special teams again, as he seemed to do this season. We remember one practice this summer when the special teams were on the field working. Where was Spurrier? On the sidelines, chatting with a few members of the press. The head coach must at least show he's interested in teams for them to succeed.

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