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With Giants on Tap, Gibbs Wary of Past

By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 20, 2005

On Oct. 23, the Washington Redskins blasted the 49ers, 52-17. The next week, they were blown out, 36-0, by the New York Giants. This week, just six days after blowing out the Dallas Cowboys, 35-7, the Redskins play none other than the Giants on Saturday afternoon.

To wide receiver Santana Moss, it was nothing but a coincidence, a statistical quirk that will mean nothing to either the Redskins or the Giants on Christmas Eve.

But to Coach Joe Gibbs, the possibility for overconfidence is quite relevant.

"Human nature being what it is, the last time we had a real good game like this, we were not very good the next week," Gibbs said yesterday. "When you play well like this, everyone brags on you, you feel good about yourself and you go out the next week and back off and don't play well. We will [have to] have every bit the kind of game this week to beat New York, who's at the top of their game. I'm concerned about that."

The comment came a day after a game in which, in Gibbs's terms, "everything went right." Each member of the starting defensive front wound up in the statistical column with either a partial sack or interception, and the Redskins finally achieved the blowout victory so many players thought they needed after weeks of close calls.

But the Giants can clinch the NFC East title with a victory on Saturday while the Redskins must still win their remaining two games in order to control their destiny and seal a playoff bid. For both, the math is very simple: Win and go into the playoffs.

"I never know what the attitude is or how we're going to play," Gibbs said. "I can say in the Giant game we were prepared, had a lot on the line, had a lot of respect for them, and I thought we were ready to play. I'm not sure if it was the 49ers or I don't know why, but for some reason that day they totally dominated the day. There was a ton at stake. We had a good game plan and it just blew up in our face."

Thomas Surgery

Randy Thomas walked around on crutches yesterday morning at Redskins Park, an ace bandage providing a heavy wrap around his ankle and lower leg. Thomas broke his right fibula with 7 minutes 55 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over the Cowboys and is lost for the year. He was placed on injured reserve and was scheduled for surgery last night, with an expected total recovery time of 12 weeks. He should be ready for minicamp.

Thomas was a huge part of the Redskins' running game, especially on pitch and toss plays, where Thomas was proficient at pulling to the right. With Pro Bowl selections being announced tomorrow, Thomas is a candidate for Honolulu.

Thomas said he saw the play and winced. Usually he said he is able to brace for injuries by going limp when he feels another player will land on him. But in this instance his right ankle was too far under the pile, he said.

Punter Struggles

For all of Sunday's triumphs, the punting game was not among them. Derrick Frost suffered his lowest punting average and net of the season. Frost punted six times for 201 yards, an average of 33.5 per punt, and a net of 29.2.

Frost, signed Sept. 25, had a previous low average of 36.2 against Oakland. His previous net low was 32.5 in his Redskins debut, Oct. 2 against Seattle. Frost is currently 23rd in the league in net average at 35.9 and 29th in average at 40.0.

Tyer Treating Rogers

Redskins Director of Sports Medicine Bubba Tyer said the next step in getting Carlos Rogers ready to play is to reduce the swelling and bleeding from his torn left biceps. Rogers did not play Sunday against the Cowboys. Gibbs said a decision on Rogers for Saturday's game against New York would "likely come down to the wire." . . .

Cornelius Griffin has a strained shoulder and Shawn Springs has a sore groin. Walt Harris played Sunday with a strained calf muscle while Tyer said LaVar Arrington regained some range of motion in his strained right quadriceps. Clinton Portis, who was thrown to the turf Sunday by Dallas safety Roy Williams, has a bruised lower back, Tyer said. Portis believed the play merited a penalty, although none was called.

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