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'Skins not ready for prime time

Titans hand Washington its second home loss on Monday night

Posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2000

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk will continue to play through pain.

Faulk probably won't miss any games but will need offseason surgery for a bruised right knee he's played with most of the season.

Faulk scored a career-high four touchdowns, two rushing and two receiving, in the Rams' 34-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Tests Monday showed loose cartilage, a slightly enlarged bruise inside the joint and torn scar tissue from a knee injury suffered while with the Indianapolis Colts earlier in his career.

Faulk, who leads the NFL with 1,326 yards from scrimmage, probably will practice one day this week. The Rams play at home against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday night.

Seahawks still grounded

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks' quarterback situation is still not clear. Neither is Brock Huard's head.

Huard still hasn't recovered from a concussion that he suffered in Oakland two weeks ago, so Jon Kitna is expected to start at quarterback Sunday against winless San Diego (0-8).

Kitna started in Seattle's first five games before being benched by Holmgren. Against the Chiefs, Kitna was 26-for-42 for 225 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions.

49ers' Hearst cleared to practice

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Garrison Hearst will attempt a comeback, and Travis Jervey will be lost for the season.

More than 21 months after a severe ankle injury threatened to end his career, Hearst has been cleared to practice with the San Francisco 49ers.

Walls to miss rest of season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers tight end Wesley Walls, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, will miss the rest of the season with torn ligaments in his left knee.

Levens' woes continue

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Dorsey Levens, the Packers' oft-injured star running back, might miss next Monday's game against the Minnesota Vikings even though tests showed he didn't seriously injure his right knee.

Aikman still hurting

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys will have to wait a few days to see whether Troy Aikman will be available Sunday against Philadelphia after injuring his back against Jacksonville.

Seau inks new pact

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Chargers nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker and emotional leader Junior Seau signed a contract extension through 2005.

Financial details weren't released, but club vice president Ed McGuire said Seau will be the NFL's highest-paid linebacker. The new contract is a renegotiation and extension of a $27.1 million deal Seau agreed to in September 1997, McGuire said.

Grunhard's streak in jeopardy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tim Grunhard's streak of 120 consecutive starts for Kansas City could end Sunday.

The Chiefs (5-3) travel to Oakland on Sunday in an AFC West showdown. A second loss to the Raiders (7-1) would virtually end any chance the Chiefs still have to win the division title.

Grunhard sustained an ankle injury Sunday in a 24-19 victory over Seattle.

Grunhard, who last year became the first Chiefs center to play in the Pro Bowl since 1977, has not missed a game since 1993. The anchor of the offensive line, the 11-year veteran also is a team leader.

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Natrone Means, cut by Carolina last week, will work out for the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday.

Means played one game for the Panthers, and didn't get a carry. Means ran 112 times for 277 yards and four touchdowns in seven games with San Diego last season.

Philadelphia has struggled running the ball since Duce Staley's season-ending foot injury.

The Eagles got 15 yards on seven carries from their running backs in a 24-7 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.

HEAD:No pain, no gain for Faulk

CREDIT:AP Photo/Nick Wass

CAPTION:Titans running back Eddie George runs past Redskins linebacker Derek Smith Monday at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

BYLINE1:By JOSEPH WHITE

BYLINE2:AP Sports Writer

LANDOVER, Md. -- With no time left on the clock, Samari Rolle had little choice: It was 81 yards or bust.

So he tiptoed along the right sideline, then meandered across the field to the left sideline, reading his blocks along the way. Finally, almost out of gas, he stumbled the last yard into the end zone for a touchdown on the last play of the first half.

The score put Tennessee ahead by 13 points, and the Titans headed into the locker room with the momentum on their way to a 27-21 victory over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

''That kind of broke open the game there -- I think that pretty much did them in,'' said Derrick Mason, who earlier had a 69-yard punt return. ''He was determined to get it into the end zone. Some people intercept it and run up the sidelines and out of bounds and are satisfied with that. Not Samari.''

Former Washington tight end Frank Wycheck added an 18-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter as the Titans (7-1) maintained a two-game lead over Pittsburgh in the AFC Central.

''Again this football team found a way to win,'' Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said. ''It was not necessarily the conventional way.''

The loss knocked the Redskins (6-3) out of first place in the NFC East, one-half game behind the New York Giants. Washington's players put a premium on winning this game under the national spotlight after losing a Monday night game to Dallas earlier this year.

''You've got to win these games at home,'' Washington quarterback Brad Johnson said. ''We've lost two big games at home on Monday night. ... It came down to two plays: the punt return and the interception before halftime. Basically that was the ball game.''

Rolle's interception was as dramatic as they come. The Redskins, trailing 13-7, had the ball on the Titans 34 with 10 seconds remaining in the half.

Johnson tried to force a pass, and Rolle stepped in front of Irving Fryar and caught the ball at the 19. After he scored, Rolle was buried under a pile of celebrating teammates in the end zone and was so tired he couldn't make it off the field without an injury timeout.

''Two football fields, nonstop,'' said Rolle, asked to estimate the length of his run. ''Luckily I saw nobody was around me and that that was when the rest of the blockers came.''

Rolle also had another interception at the Redskins 33 with 1:59 to play, ending Washington's last real chance to drive the ball downfield.

The Titans used Eddie George on seven consecutive plays to set up their only offensive touchdown, scored by Wycheck in the fourth quarter. George sprained his right knee early in last week's 14-6 victory over Baltimore and was not confirmed to start until shortly before kickoff.

Showing no obvious effects from the injury, George carried 22 times for 71 yards. He twisted his ankle late in the fourth quarter, but Fisher said the injury wasn't serious.

The Titans defense held every offense it faced this season to three plays and a punt on its opening series. But the Redskins ended that streak emphatically with a 16-play, 84-yard drive that took 8:19 and included four third-down conversions.

The most dynamic third-down play came when Johnson, hardly the most mobile of quarterbacks, escaped a sack by spinning away from Jevon Kearse and scrambling 13 yards before taking a hit from Denard Walker. A pass interference call on Rolle gave the Redskins first-and-goal, and Johnson hit fullback Mike Sellers two plays later with a 5-yard pass to make it 7-0.

The Titans responded with a more chaotic, 11-play drive that included three scrambles by quarterback Steve McNair. Al Del Greco capped it with a 46-yard field goal that barely cleared the crossbar.

Less than two minutes later, a flying block by Keith Bulluck sprang Mason for a 69-yard punt return to put the Titans ahead 10-7. Mason darted left and juked punter Tommy Barnhardt for his second career punt return touchdown.

Late in the half, a bad snap by Joe Zelenka forced Barnhardt to abort a punt attempt. After the play, Bulluck pushed Barnhardt's helmet off. Barnhardt retaliated and was flagged for a personal foul, giving the Titans good field position to set up a 21-yard field goal by Del Greco.

Rolle's touchdown made it 20-7 at the half. The Redskins closed to 20-14 late in the third quarter with a 13-play, 66-yard drive, relying heavily on Stephen Davis, who scored on a 1-yard run.

But the Titans scored the insurance touchdown as George's runs and a roughing the passer penalty on Kenard Lang led to Wycheck's score. Wycheck, cut by the Redskins in 1995, spiked the ball hard and looked at the Washington bench after the score.

''I was hungry for that end zone. I wanted it bad,'' Wycheck said. ''I just wanted to go out and prove to them that they made a mistake. It was definitely an emotional game for me.''

The Redskins came back one more time on Larry Centers' 3-yard touchdown pass with 6:42 remaining to make it 27-21.

But Rolle's second interception ended the Redskins' last real chance. Dainon Sidney also picked off a desperation pass by Johnson on the last play of the game.

''There were things we did well moving the football,'' Washington coach Norv Turner said. ''But we're going to look at the film tomorrow and say the same thing: Punt return for a touchdown, an interception return for a touchdown, it's hard to overcome that.''

Notes: The Redskins replaced the pregame on-field announcer who upset Baltimore fans with a derogatory remark before the Ravens game two weeks ago. The new announcer kept his routine tame, although his calendar was slightly off. His first words: ''It's Halloween!'' ... Stadium parking attendants, upset over working conditions, called off a planned strike hours before kickoff after an appeal from Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening's labor relations office for a cooling-off period. ... Irving Fryar left the game with a rib injury in the fourth quarter, so the Redskins used cornerback Deion Sanders as a receiver for the first time this season.



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