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‘JetSkins’ get a win

Former Jets play big role for Redskins in NFL season opener

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Redskins QB Patrick Ramsey (11) gets sacked by the Jets' Shaun Ellis (92) and Jason Ferguson (72) during Washington's win Thursday.

Redskins QB Patrick Ramsey (11) gets sacked by the Jets’ Shaun Ellis (92) and Jason Ferguson (72) during Washington’s win Thursday.

Lawrence Jackson, Associated Press

LANDOVER, Md. — John Hall gave the JetSkins just what they wanted Thursday night.

Hall kicked a 33-yard field goal with 5 seconds to play, giving the Washington Redskins a 16-13 victory over the New York Jets in the NFL's season opener.

Hall, one of four Jets free agents signed by the Redskins in the offseason, also made kicks of 50 and 22 yards as each of the so-called JetSkins did his part in a grudge match created by an offseason player tug-of-war.

Patrick Ramsey, not the most nimble quarterback in the world, set up the winning score with a 24-yard scramble to New York's 31-yard line. Ladell Betts carried three times for 17 yards to wind down the clock for Hall's attempt.

Laveranues Coles made sure his old team noticed him, dancing and scowling his way for 106 yards receiving on five catches — all in the first half. Chad Morton was solid in his debut as the Redskins' return man, and guard Randy Thomas' blocking paved the way for an attack that went surprisingly conservative in the second half.

Ramsey completed 17 of 23 passes for 185 yards, but only 29 yards came after halftime. He also turned over the ball twice in the second half, setting up two Jets field goals that tied the game.

Vinny Testaverde, returning to the starting job after a preseason wrist injury to Chad Pennington, completed 15 of 24 passes for 105 yards for New York.

Of the four ex-Jets, Coles was the only one to voice any real animosity toward his former team during training camp. He danced for the New York sideline after one catch and jawed a few feet from the bench after another. But he wasn't heard from again after halftime.

The game, the NFL's second annual Thursday night opener, was preceded by a three-hour concert on the Washington Mall featuring Britney Spears, Aerosmith, Mary J. Blige and Aretha Franklin. Hundreds of thousands attended the bash, which was also paid tribute to U.S. troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

In an odd moment of juxtaposition, President Bush spoke of leadership and teamwork and asked, "Are you ready for some football?" in a videotaped message played on the stadium scoreboard just as a barely dressed Spears was finishing her performance on the Mall a few miles away.

Neither team showed big-game jitters early on. There were only two penalties and no turnovers in the first half that consisted of long, systematic drives.

But the game got more sloppy in the second half.

The JetSkins made their presence known right away. Morton returned the opening kickoff 23 yards. Coles made a 25-yard catch over the middle and celebrated with a mini-dance. Thomas helped pave the way for the 12-play drive capped by Hall's first field goal.

But the Jets went all the way on their opening drive, with coach Herman Edwards successfully gambling on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. He took top rusher Curtis Martin out and gave the ball to LaMont Jordan, who leaped over the pile and into the end zone.

Spurrier did his own fourth-and-1 trick on the next drive, with Betts converting with a short run at the Jets 27. Darnerien McCants finished the drive with a 4-yard TD catch to put Washington ahead 10-7.

Coles went over the 100-yard receiving mark on the next drive. Ramsey somehow ducked under blitzing linebacker Mo Lewis and found Coles for a 48-yard gain over backup safety Tyrone Carter, who entered after Jon McGraw left with a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet tackle.

Coles jawed at the sidelines after that catch, then gave an emphatic "first down" sign after a 22-yard reception two plays later. The catch set up Hall's 22-yard field goal, making the halftime score 13-7.

The Redskins certainly didn't look like a Spurrier team in the second half. The Fun 'n' Gun turned cautious and tentative and run-oriented, as if the coach were trying to run out the clock with more than a quarter to play.

Ramsey was nearly perfect in the first half — 12-for-13 for 156 yards — but his second pass of the second half was intercepted by Donnie Abraham and returned to Washington's 26. The Jets couldn't punch it in, however, settling for Doug Brien's 30-yard field goal.

Ramsey's second turnover set up another field goal that tied the score in the fourth quarter.