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Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Redskins kick-start NFL pre-season
Japanese fans salute the Washington Redskins in Osaka
Mixed support: Japanese and US fans cheer the 'Skins
The NFL pre-season clicked into gear on Sunday as the Washington Redskins beat the San Francisco 49ers 38-7 in the American Bowl in Osaka, Japan.

New coach Steve Spurrier imposed his signature "run and gun" style on the Redskins.

His new charges passed for five touchdowns on his debut, throwing the ball 45 times and running it just 21 times in an exciting display.

The final score of the NFL's first exhibition game of the season meant little, however.

Danny Wuerffel had an impressive second half
Wuerffel: Battling for a Redskins starting spot

The pressing concern for Spurrier was the start of a three-way battle for Washington's starting quarterback job.

Sage Rosenfels had early jitters, throwing two incomplete passes and an interception on the first three plays from scrimmage.

But he settled down and threw touchdown passes of 65 yards and 10 yards in the second quarter against the 49ers' backup secondary.

Danny Wuerffel played the second half and looked impressive, leading four scoring drives from as many possessions.

The third prospective quarterback, Shane Matthews, will start next week at Carolina.

Both coaches treated the half-full Osaka stadium to glimpses of their Japanese players.

Japanese stars

Steve Mariucci handed a 49ers debut to Masafumi Kawaguchi, who impressed despite committing a blocking penalty from the opening kick-off.

And, late in the game, Spurrier treated the crowd by calling a reverse to Akihito Amaya.

The American Bowl signalled the start of a lengthy series of build-up games for all NFL teams.

The regular season kicks off on 5 September when the 49ers visit the New York Giants.

BBC Sport Online rounds up the latest news from the NFL.

Bucs 48-21 Raiders

How they got there

Other features

SUPER BOWL DEBATE

STATISTICS

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