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Best and Worst

Monday, September 20, 2004; Page D15

Best Pressure: With the Giants facing third down and six, Shawn Springs got to quarterback Kurt Warner on a safety blitz and forced a fumble. The Giants recovered, but the Redskins took over at their 47 after the punt and marched down the field for a touchdown.

Best Play-Action: On third and goal from the Giants 2-yard line, Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell faked a handoff to tailback Clinton Portis. Giants players followed Portis as he was running right, and rookie tight end Chris Cooley was left wide open on the left side for an easy touchdown catch.

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Worst Protection: After not yielding a sack last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Redskins' offensive line crumbled on third and three early in the second quarter. Defensive tackle Fred Robbins burst through the left side of the line, sacked Brunell and caused a fumble. Defensive end Michael Strahan recovered and the Giants took over at the Redskins 38.

Worst Coverage: On the ensuing play, safety Matt Bowen, one of the standout players in last week's victory over the Bucs, watched as wide receiver Tim Carter ran by him and caught a 38-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.

Worst Fumble: Portis picked a most inopportune time to fumble for the first time in 279 touches. Midway through the second quarter, Portis carried up the middle on third and one but lost the ball when he ran into the line. Linebacker Barrett Green scooped up the loose ball and went in for a 16-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 14-7 lead.

Worst Hands: With the Redskins driving for a score that would have cut the deficit to 10, the Redskins' Rod Gardner was open over the middle for what appeared an easy touchdown. But just as last week when he dropped the first pass of the season, the butterfingered wideout could not hold on to the ball. Earlier in the game, Gardner also dropped a pass that would have resulted in a first down.

Best Hands: Gardner could take a lesson from the Giants' Robbins on the art of the catch. Robbins applied heavy pressure on Brunell, tipped the quarterback's pass and juggled the ball before securing it for the interception. Robbins returned it 13 yards to the Redskins 26.

Worst Officiating: Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington tried to tackle tailback Tiki Barber but got a handful of face mask in the process just before the two-minute warning. Giants Coach Tom Coughlin pleaded with the officials to throw a flag. Despite replays showing Arrington's clear violation, officials did nothing.

Worst Injury: Brunell appeared to strain a hamstring throwing early in the second half when he rolled to his left and completed a pass to Cooley; afterward, he limped to the huddle. On the next play, a handoff to Portis, Brunell stumbled while dropping back for the exchange.

Worst Memories: Patrick Ramsey came in for Brunell and was sacked on his first play. Not exactly the best way to welcome back the quarterback who got used to getting hit hard and often behind former coach Steve Spurrier's light protection schemes the past two seasons.

Worst Throw I: With the Redskins driving for the potential go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, Ramsey completely missed his intended target, wide receiver Laveranues Coles, and threw it directly to defensive back Gibril Wilson.

Worst Throw II: Late in the third quarter, Ramsey forced a pass to Coles near the right corner of the end zone. Free safety Brent Alexander stepped in front of the double-teamed Coles and gathered the interception to thwart a drive that could have brought the Redskins within six points.

Best Throw: Ramsey stood in the pocket under a fierce pass rush and delivered a 13-yard touchdown strike on a post pattern to Portis early in the fourth quarter that pulled the Redskins to 20-14.

-- Gene Wang

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