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Obscure Saint totals 356 yards in rout

©Associated Press
October 14, 2002

LANDOVER, Md. -- The chant in the locker room was "Mike the man! Mike the man!" Boo Williams even did an impersonation of Michael Lewis filming a commercial to capitalize on his newfound fame.

"Shut up, Boo," said Lewis, finally getting a bit embarrassed.

Lewis, a former beer delivery truck driver, had his biggest game since becoming a rookie last season at age 29.

He had 356 combined yards Sunday, including kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns, to help lead New Orleans over Washington, 43-27.

"I never looked at making it this far when I was playing arena ball," said Lewis, who never went to college and has played for the New Jersey Red Dogs in the Arena League and the Louisiana Bayou Beast of the Indoor Professional Football League. "But the opportunity was there when I came here. And I'm going to take as much as I can from it. It's my turn."

The Saints, off to their best start since 1993, scored their most points since 1987. They took a 20-0 lead after Redskins rookie Patrick Ramsey, making his first start, threw three interceptions in his first five passes.

Washington's first scoring drive covered 75 yards, 36 more than New Orleans' first four scoring drives combined.

"This is one of the weirdest games I've ever been associated with," Redskins 18-year veteran defensive end Bruce Smith said.

Washington coach Steve Spurrier was exasperated.

"Basically we're not smart enough to give ourselves a chance to win," Spurrier said. "Careless penalties, careless turnovers here and there. We look like we don't care whether we win the game or not. It's pitiful watching us play right now.

"We're trying to make some corrections. We're trying to find out the guys who want to bust their tails and play their assignments. Those who don't, we gotta make changes if we can't get 'em to play and play disciplined."

Spurrier wouldn't elaborate on changes, other than to say that he will stick with Ramsey, who saw a better and completely different defense than he faced when he beat Tennessee in relief last week.

The Saints sat in a deep zone and had four interceptions, seven sacks, two dropped would- be interceptions and two more interceptions called back by penalties. Ramsey was 21-for-43 for 320 yards.

Jay Bellamy had two interceptions and a fumble recovery in the first quarter. Darren Howard had a career-high three sacks.

"Everything that could've gone wrong went wrong," Ramsey said.

In the first quarter the Redskins turned the ball over four times deep in their territory and had 1 yard of offense. The Saints coverted for two touchdowns and two field goals in drives starting at the Washington 5, 9, 15 and 18.

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