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Offense needs upgrade
Despite their fourth-quarter heroics against Dallas, the Redskins haven't shown much firepower in their first two games. And the principals know it.

Date published: 9/29/2005

By ADAM HIMMELSBACH

ASHBURN--By the time the Washington Redskins tussle with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, they'll have had almost two weeks to bask in the glory of four glorious minutes.

They've done plenty of smiling and back-slapping since that magical Monday night comeback against the Dallas Cowboys.

Surely, you remember. Wideout Santana Moss put together his own Texas two-step, scoring a pair of touchdowns a few strokes after midnight, sending the visitors to a 14-13 win.

Redskins fans leapt and roared. Cowboys fans boiled and cringed. The victory pushed Washington into its bye week at 2-0.

But it's unknown whether the late-night elixir was just an anomaly. It remains to be seen whether the Redskins will find a way to consistently dent a scoreboard.

"Anytime you start patting yourself on the back, you're setting yourself up for a trap," center Casey Rabach said. "Except for the last four minutes of the Cowboys game, our offense has been pretty low-key."

Through two games, the Redskins have gained 669 yards on 132 plays, an average of 5.2 yards per snap. But take away the two long passes to Moss, and that average plummets to 4.2.

Five fumbles have hiccuped from their arms, two passes have been intercepted and quarterbacks Patrick Ramsey and Mark Brunell have been sacked eight times.

"It's been pretty sloppy and we've got some things to clean up," Brunell said. "We know we're headed in the right direction."

Though the Redskins plan to erase Moss' late-game heroics from their memories, they hope their opponents don't.

They hope defenses adjust their schemes and setups, because for the first time in a long time, they feel like they have a legitimate deep passing threat.

They hope opposing safeties veer a bit more toward Moss, thus freeing sure-handed veteran David Patten for a few more catches.

They hope defensive coordinators decide against piling the box with eight players, so running back Clinton Portis doesn't feel like a bug trying to penetrate a screen door.

"Hopefully now we can mix things up and keep people guessing," said Patten, who has just four catches for 31 yards in Washington's two games this season.

The Redskins have struggled to complete intermediate (15- to-25-yard) receptions. This may be attributed to a lack of pass protection.


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SEAHAWKS (2-1) vs. REDSKINS (2-0)

FedEx Field, Landover, Md. Sunday, 1 p.m. (FOX-TV; WGRQ-FM 95.9)