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REVIEW THE SEASON
In No Small Way, Redskins Defeat the GiantsBy Dave Sell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, Sept. 16, 1996; Page C1
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Sept. 15—They were hungry and ornery; focused and unmerciful. From the first play to the last today, the Washington Redskins
Defensive tackle Sean Gilbert set the tone with a ferocious pass rush on the first play. Running back Terry Allen laid the foundation with 146 yards rushing. And linebacker Marvcus Patton finished it, partly with an interception, but more so with words and a hand to the face of Giants quarterback Dave Brown that told Brown and his winless teammates that the Redskins came to Giants Stadium to do some thumping.
The result was a 31-10 victory for Washington in front of 71,693 that ended a six-game losing streak to the Giants and pushed the Redskins to 2-1 in the young season.
Gus Frerotte threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to tight end Scott Galbraith on a fake field goal. Cornerback Tom Carter had two of the team’s four interceptions. And Patton left a final impression on Brown (below, being chased by Dexter Nottage).
"He was talking in the papers about how he likes playing us," Patton said of Brown, who had been great against the Redskins (4-0 with a 117 quarterback rating) and mediocre against the rest of the NFL. "He’s got to be a little more humble. He’s not at the point in his career where he can talk [like that] because he’s not backing it up. Every chance I got I let him know how much he liked playing the Redskins."
The Redskins are tied with the Philadelphia Eagles atop the NFC East and will visit the St. Louis Rams Sunday.
The Redskins-Giants rivalry has lasted decades, but with both teams struggling to rebuild, it’s taken on a desperate flavor. The Giants beat the Redskins twice last season, first by causing five turnovers and then with a kickoff return for a touchdown and a last-second stand. But that might have been the highlight of the Giants’ 1995 season and this one has started terribly (0-3).
Running back Rodney Hampton is the Giants’ best weapon, but he carried the ball only nine times for 58 yards. The Redskins sacked Brown four times and intercepted him four times. After the last one, Brown removed his helmet to run 15 yards to challenge Patton, who yapped at Brown and swatted him to punctuate his point. It’s telling that it took a long time for Brown’s teammates to arrive and lend assistance.
"I’ll wear the helmet next time," Brown said without backing down. "They weren’t a good team the past couple years. [Now] they’re a much better team."
If the Giants are in disarray, the Redskins are happy. After losing to the Eagles for the eighth straight time, some in the Redskins’ organization wondered whether they had overestimated this group. But the things that did work in the Eagles game have gotten much better and the weaknesses are showing less.
"I thought all phases of our football team played well," Coach Norv Turner said. "But the first thing I mentioned to the players was, ‘Gosh, we could play a lot better than that,’ and they all threw towels at me."
The Redskins had 427 yards in total offense to only 286 for the Giants. Frerotte was 15 of 23 for 197 yards, with his first touchdown pass and his first interception of the season. He also was sacked three times.
Brown was 17 of 31 for 201 yards with only a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Aaron Pierce to offset his four interceptions.
Gilbert got to know Brown early and was once again fantastic, collecting his third sack in as many games. The Giants tried to slow him on the game’s first play by running a screen pass. But Gilbert blew past guard Rob Zetechka so fast, Brown had to dump the ball before being hit. That drive ended with linebacker Ken Harvey pressuring Brown and Redskins cornerback Scott Turner making his first career interception.
"Quarterbacks are aware that a Sean Gilbert or Ken Harvey had a great week the week before and if you re-enforce that with pressure early—and it doesn’t matter if you sack him or just knock him to the ground—it is a factor," Turner said.
The Redskins went ahead, 3-0, on Scott Blanton’s 36-yard field goal. After Gilbert’s sack forced a punt and Brian Mitchell returned it 25 yards to the Giants 47, the Redskins needed just five plays to score on fullback Marc Logan’s three-yard run (pictured at right) for a 10-0 lead.
After Brad Daluiso missed a 43-yard field goal, the Redskins delivered a decisive blow full of irony. The drive started with a 22-yard completion to Logan on a pattern similar to the one he ran in last season’s first game, when a pass bounced off his hands into those of then-Giant Vencie Glenn who went 75 yards for a touchdown.
In other victories over the Redskins, the Giants used trick plays. But today the Redskins won the trick-play battle, too. The Redskins moved to the Giants 30. Blanton set up to try a 48-yard field. But Frerotte, the holder, pulled up and hit a wide-open Galbraith for an easy 30-yard touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
"You cannot card-index life," Galbraith said. "You cannot always get the deep mysteries of life tied up into a neat and tidy bundle with no loose ends anywhere. Life will always give you awkward and intractable factors to take your confident theorizing by surprise. There will always be a nevertheless situation, a situation that doesn’t fit in with the whole. This is that situation. Who would have thunk, who would have thunk it? Me wide open like that? Not even on an offensive play. That’s why you play this game."
Pierce beat Patton for the touchdown reception to make it 17-7 at halftime and then the Giants had a chance to get closer in the third quarter. But on third and one from the Redskins 2, Coach Dan Reeves called a bootleg pass that fell incomplete. He opted for Daluiso’s 19-yard field goal, which was a victory for the Redskins’ defense.
The Redskins’ offense then took over, and earned its money. Allen carried five times, the last being a seven-yard touchdown run for a 24-10 lead with four seconds gone in the fourth quarter. With 87 seconds left in the fourth quarter, rookie running back Stephen Davis gained the last 39 of the Redskins’ 239 yards rushing on a touchdown jaunt through a demoralized Giants defense.
"It’s definitely a big win," Logan said. "A lot of the guys were talking about this game in the offseason. We thought, ‘We’ve got to beat the Giants,’ because of the way they beat us [twice] last year. The preparation for this really began in the offseason. Everybody said, ‘We have to beat the Giants.’"
© Copyright 1996 The Washington Post
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