LANDOVER, Md. -- If he didn't know it already, Washington Redskin Coach Steve Spurrier got an excruciating two-part lesson Monday before a national TV audience:
Part One: The NFL is not the SEC.
Part Two: The Philadelphia Eagles are not the Arizona Cardinals.
Looking frustrated, bedraggled and not the least bit amused, Spurrier watched the Eagles roll to a 37-7 victory in a game delayed seven minutes when an unknown substance -- later learned to be pepper spray -- wafted onto the visiting sideline.
Meanwhile, the much-ballyhooed Redskin offense got another type of scare. A week after barnstorming to a 31-23 victory over Arizona, the 'Skins crossed the 50-yard line just once (thanks to a dubious roughing-the-passer call) and collected a scant 179 yards.
"We got clobbered," Spurrier said. "Philadelphia outplayed us and outcoached us. I apologize to Redskin fans."
Had Spurrier been wearing a visor, it would have gotten the upper-deck treatment. Instead, the $5-million-a-year coach let loose with a lip-flapping raspberry that "Monday Night Football" caught on camera and played over and over in super-slo-mo.
The Redskins swapped quarterbacks at halftime -- Danny Wuerffel replaced Shane Matthews, who left with a sore shoulder -- but their worst quarterback problem was wearing a Philadelphia uniform. Donovan McNabb ran for a touchdown, threw for two more, and generally made life miserable for the Redskin defense.
"When you have a quarterback like McNabb you have to get to him," said linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, who defected from the Eagles to the Redskins this season. "When he gets outside the pocket, we've all got to swarm to him and bring him down."
Dorsey Levens led all rushers with six carries for 65 yards, most of which came on a 47-yard touchdown run. Teammate Duce Staley had 22 touches (15 carries, seven catches); James Thrash and Jeff Thomason caught touchdown passes. With 451 yards, the Eagles nearly tripled the Redskin output.
With 6:38 remaining and the outcome essentially decided, the game took a bizarre turn. There was a fight in the stands behind the Philadelphia bench, and a Prince George's County police officer trying to break it up was pulled into the skirmish. One or more of the other officers used pepper spray to end the incident, and the powerful cooling fans aimed at the players caused the spray to spread.
When the stadium announcer informed the crowd a substance had been released near the Eagle bench, the spectators and players quickly moved out of the area, holding hands, T-shirts, jerseys anything to cover their faces. Officials conferred at midfield to discuss what to do next.
The Redskin offense could have used a quick exit. Besides a no-look shovel pass by Matthews and a switcheroo by cornerback Champ Bailey, who lined up at running back for one play and promptly fumbled, the unit was as colorless as Spurrier's cheeks. Some of the credit has to go to Philadelphia's defense, of course, which crumbled in a season-opening loss to Tennessee and was hellbent on redemption.
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