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Pair of Picks


In what ended up being a tight victory in Baltimore's first preseason contest, cornerback Fabian Washington intercepted passes from two Patriots quarterbacks in the first half.

It was certainly an auspicious showing for one of the newest Ravens.

"I played pretty good, but I still feel like I can do better," Washington said of his performance. "With this defense and this pass rush, there are a lot more picks to come."

Matt Cassel and Matt Gutierrez, the two quarterbacks who saw time for New England in the first half, did not escape Washington's statement-making debut with the Ravens' renowned defense.

His first interception came against Cassel with 6:37 left in the first half. The Patriots had a first-and-10 opportunity at the Baltimore 33-yard line, but Washington capitalized on an errant throw and interrupted the intended connection between the quarterback and wide receiver Chad Jackson.

Washington caught the pass at Baltimore's 21-yard line and returned it 2 yards before he was brought down.

"The first [interception] was underthrown by the quarterback," Washington said. "He threw it behind the receiver and I was right there."

But Washington's work was not done for the night.

With time expiring in the second period, he capitalized on another error by a different quarterback. Gutierrez intended to hit receiver Matthew Slater in a second-and-10 situation at the Baltimore 22-yard line with 12 seconds left on the clock. Washington was waiting on the 9-yard line for his second pick of the game.

"On the second [interception], the quarterback just telegraphed it," said Washington. "He was looking at me the whole way. As soon as I saw the receiver break I just cut underneath him."

Typical post-play celebration of high-fives or chest bumps was not sufficient praise for Washington's declaratory performance. After his second interception, fellow cornerback Corey Ivy, all of 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, hoisted the slightly larger Washington (5-11, 180) onto his shoulders and carried him off the field.

The Patriots finished the game with 15 points and 236 total offensive yards, but the first-half Baltimore defense held New England to only three points and 85 yards.

Because of his two interceptions and two tackles, Washington was a key contributor to that strong effort.

"Anytime you can do something like that, you have one heck of a defense," Washington said about the defense's first-half play. "I know when we watch film on Friday, we'll see all we can improve on. But right now it feels good."

This is Washington's fourth season in the NFL, but first with the Ravens, who acquired him through a draft-day trade with the Oakland Raiders in April of 2008. The Raiders made him the 23rd-overall selection in 2005.

After a strong training camp where he was able to participate in more reps due to the absence of Chris McAlister (injury) and Samari Rolle (personal), Washington was eager to prove his mettle in a live game situation.

"It just feels good to finally play football again," Washington said of his performance. "You only get one chance to make a first impression, so I felt like I had to go out and make an impact for my first time as a Raven."

Washington owns five career interceptions, and he matched his regular season single game high interception count of two.

"I guess Fabian Washington is worth that fourth-rounder Ozzie [Newsome] gave up," said defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. "It was good to see him show what he can do."

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