Skins Openers, 2004-2005
Continuing the D.C. Sports Bog's special seven-and-a-half hour kickoff show. Spotted: Comcast SportsyNet producer Gary Carter and on-air talent Kelli Johnson, on the Acela.
Still at work? Ready for more uses of the phrase "hard fought" from recent season openers? Here were two more home wins. (Last road opener? 2001, Marty, at San Diego.)
2005: Redskins beat Chicago, 9-7
WaPo gamer lede: The sellout crowd of 90,138 applauded late in the second quarter when quarterback Patrick Ramsey was able to leave the field under his own power, among several trainers, after a vicious hit left him dazed. But fans roared when backup Mark Brunell -- last year's whipping boy -- jogged onto the field as Ramsey's neck was being examined on the sideline.
Although Brunell guided three scoring drives in Washington's revamped offense, the team followed the same script from last year, including uncertainty at starting quarterback, during a defensive battle with the Chicago Bears. The only twist was that Washington's defense forced two turnovers -- a weakness last season -- leading to a 9-7 victory over the Bears at FedEx Field to open the season.
Joe Gibbs: "For us it was just hard-fought. We fought hard all day and kept slugging. That's about all you can say from our side. I was proud of our guys, because they had great heart like that."
Santana Moss: "When it comes down to getting that 'W,' any way you can do it, that's all that matters."
Jon Jansen: "It was a battle of attrition, and we won that battle."
Jason La Canfora: "Against anything other than an abysmal offensive football team with a rookie fourth-round quarterback making his first NFL start, all of the Washington Redskins' foibles yesterday might have been too much to overcome."
Thomas Boswell: "Washington is no longer strictly 'a Redskins town.' We've become too big for that. The Wizards, after eons in the wilderness, actually won a round in the NBA playoffs this spring. With Ernie Grunfeld as their general manager, this probably is no aberration. The Maryland basketball team now hangs its 2002 NCAA championship banner in its new Comcast Center. D.C. United is a perennial pro soccer power. Even the Caps of the NHL, rumor has it, still exist.... Over the next few years, look for Washington's primary teams to share the area, as is the case in the country's largest and most-confident cities."
Dan Steinberg: "Hahahahahahaha."
2004: Redskins beat Tampa Bay, 16-10
WaPo gamer lede: The roars from the crowd of 90,098 began when Coach Joe Gibbs trotted out of the tunnel for warmups, wearing a black Washington Redskins cap, sunglasses and a steely expression to hide his bubbling emotions at his first NFL regular season game after missing 11 seasons. Fans cheered wildly as the Redskins huddled near the end zone before stretching. They even applauded the coin flip.
By opening kickoff, FedEx Field was rocking with the largest crowd for a Redskins home game in its eight-year history, and the Redskins responded with a stirring 16-10 opening-day victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers behind a virtuoso performance by tailback Clinton Portis and the swarming, blitz-happy defense concocted by Gregg Williams.
Joe Gibbs: "I'm absolutely thrilled. I don't think we could have fought any harder. I gotta tell you, both teams were laying it out there as hard as they could. It was huge for me. I can tell you that. And I think it was for our players, too."
Clinton Portis: "I'm really exhausted. But I have time to recover now. I've got the night off."
Randy Thomas: "We're going to see if [Portis is] going to take us out to eat. I hope it's not a buffet. I want to sit down."
Mark Brunell: "It probably wasn't really pretty on the offensive side of the ball. But we got it done."
Walter Rasby: "Mark has such a great presence in the huddle. He keeps us relaxed and he'll joke every now and then; that gets us going, that's what you need. He'll make a call or a check at the line and he'll look at you and say, 'You liked that, huh? You liked that?' Stuff like that."
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