The Thrill
and the AgonyThis week in sports by Chas Walker

Trade Regrets?

The crisp fall air can only mean one thing: it’s football season. So whether you root for the top dogs or the underdogs, get out your large foam hands and get ready for the action. Two of this week’s games were punctuated with irony: players traded to other franchises proved decisive in determining the outcomes of games against their former teammates.

Washington 16

New York Jets 13

The NFL season started off with a bang as D.C. hosted the New York Jets on Aug. 4. Washington’s kicker, John Hall – a former Jet – nailed three field goals, including a 50-yarder to end their first drive, and a 33-yarder with five seconds left on the clock to win the game.

Wide receiver Laveraneus Coles, another former Jet, provided some explosive offense, gaining 106 yards on five catches. Washington quarterback Patrick Ramsey threw well, completing 17 of 23 passes for 185 total yards and one touchdown. Ramsey, not known for his speed, also made a memorable scramble for over 20 yards on Washington’s final fourth-quarter drive, which placed Hall in field position.

The Washington defense held New York’s offense to 158 total yards. And the pain was surely worsened by the success of their former teammates.

Buffalo Bills 31

New England Patriots 0

Drew Bledsoe passed for a total of 230 yards. Lawyer Milloy got a sack, five tackles, and forced an interception. “So how could the Patriots lose?” cry my fellow New Englanders, until they remember: these guys don’t play for us anymore!

The Patriots’ trounced the Bills twice last season (outscoring them 65 to 24), and no one regretted the decision to dump Bledsoe in favor of the younger quarterback Tom Brady. But Bledsoe erased the ghosts of last year by completing 17 of 28 passes, and he lead an 80- and a 90-yard scoring drive, respectively.

The loss of linebacker Milloy less than a week ago sent things over the edge, and it generated some defensive magic for the Bills. Newcomer Takeo Spikes contributed two interceptions and six tackles for the Buffalo defense, and the Patriots were shut out for the first time since 1993.

“From the first play on,” Brady admitted, “it was Buffalo, Buffalo, Buffalo.”

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