Struggling Saints scalped by Redskins

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 31, 2001

NEW ORLEANS – Sunday night’s matchup proved to be a comedy of errors for an uninspired New Orleans Saints football team.

The Saints, who earlier in the weekend had been eliminated from playoff contention, looked every bit the part, showing no effort or emotion in an embarrassing 40-10 meltdown at the hands of the Washington Redskins.

&uot;I’ll tell you why we are losing.We were a plus-four team (in turnovers) three weeks ago, we are zero right now, that’s why we are losing,&uot; an angry Saints coach Jim Haslett said. &uot;You can’t turn the ball over in the red zone, and you can’t give them a short field and expect to win games. We are playing dumb football, if you really want to know the truth.&uot;

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The Redskins (7-8) scored the game’s final 40 points, after the Saints grabbed the early 10-0 lead, and deceived the announced sellout crowd of 70,020 that this game would be all about pride.

&uot;It’s wasn’t the effort,&uot; Haslett said loudly about the teams’ six turnovers. &uot;We are not playing smart.&uot;

Redskins kicker Brian Conway booted three field goals to go with rushing touchdowns from D.C. running backs Ki-Jana Carter and Stephen Davis. Quarterback Tony Banks also scored on a nifty bootleg with 6:48 remaining in the third quarter to further the humiliation.

The New Orleans run defense, a shell of itself without the services of tackle Norman Hand, continued to give mediocre running games confidence. In all, they surrendered 173 yards on 44 carries. Quarterback Aaron Brooks continued to have problems under center, slinging three interceptions, all which led to opposing scores.He also fumbled, while only completing 14 passes for 112 yards. Running back Ricky Williams had a quiet 74 yards on 17 carries and a fumble as well. Former Ole Miss standout Deuce McAllister was a bright spot Sunday night, grabbing four passes for 62 yards and the game’s opening touchdown.

The Saints (7-8) wrap up what has to be considered a disappointing season on many levels, next Sunday in the Superdome against the San Francisco 49ers.