The Washington Redskins continued to slip, slide and struggle yesterday in a dismal 17-6 loss to the grateful New York Giants. The defeat left George Allen visibly shaken and his team in terrible trouble.
"I can't remember a loss that's ever been more devastating than this one." Allen said in a silent dressing room at RFK stadium. "It's the same old story it's been all year - too many mistakes.
"I wish I had the answer. There's a 101 things why we're not scoring points. You can't blame (Billy) Kilmer for all this, not when you have dropped passes, fumbles, penalties and the protection breaks down."
Once again, the Redskin offense was nearly non existent. Washington has scored onoy two touchdowns in its last 12 quarters, and one of them came on a one-foot scoring drive against the Cowboys after a blocked punt. Yesterday the Redskins could generate only 227 yards while Kilmer was sacked six times.
This clearly was no Veteran's Day for the Redskins, now 3-3, three full games behind the undefeated Dallas Cowboys in the so-called NFC East race.
No one will scoff when Allen talks about crises because the Redskins must now battle at least a half-dozen NFC teams for a wild-card berth.
And yet, despite two straight losses, the Redskins still will be tied for the best second-place record in the conference if the Rams lose to the Vikings tonight.
They must do it with a team that went into the game battered and left it even more banged up. Receiver Charley Taylor, who suffered a pulled hamstring making a catch in the first quarter, is the most serious casualty and will be questionable next week for Philadelphia.
Running back Mike Thomas has a sore knee, fullback Clarence Harmon and tight end Jean Fugett bruised hands, safety Jake Scott a pulled groin, defensive tackle Diron Talbert a badl bruised hip, and defensive end Ron McDole a pulled hamstring. This isn't a football team, it's an emergency room.
The Giants, who also are 3-3 and have won three in a row against the Redskins, prevailed yesterday on a 17-yard touchdown run by Doug Kotar, a 23-yard touchdown catch by Jimmy Robinson on a pass from Joe Pisarcik and a 20-year breath-easy field goal by Joc Danclo.
A personal-foul call on linebacker Mike Curtis helped set up Kotar's run. And a Kilmer fumble and interception provided the Giants decent enough field position to add 10 more gift points in the fourth quarter.
The Giants very easily could have had more. In the second quarter they had a first and goal at the Redskin [WORD ILLEGIBLE], but couldn't score. In the third quarter they had an 82-yard pass play and a first down at the Redskin 15 but couldn't score. And in the fourth quarter they had a 50 yard punt return and another first down at the 15, and still couldn't score. You get the picture.
But the Redskins remained the leading squanderer of terrific breaks yesterday on an afternoon when Mark Boseley field goals of 35 and 44 yards, Eddie Fugett's six catches constituted the meager offensive highlights.
Oh, Kilmer did manage to crank up to firm and complete 20 of 39 passes for 217 yards. But the Giants to the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] said they were never concerned about the Redskin runnink attack. So they teed off on Kilmer all day.
"Credit our front four and three comebackers for stopping the run," said Giant safety Jim Stienke. "From the last of the third quarter, we hardly had to come up for any rushing defense. We knew we didn't have to sorry about the running game, we could just forget that and get into our coverages immediately."
And as if the offense didn't have enough woe with 71 yards rushing and only 227 yards of total offense, they also had two holding penalties kill wonderful scoring opportunities and an illegal-motion call nullify rockie Clarence Harmon's 9 yard touchdown catch-run on the Redskins' opening offensive play of the third quarter.
Allen later said that play was the turning point, and no one could argue. Harmon managed to get wide open on a streak pattern down the left sideline, caught the ball in full stride and made one sweet move at the 15 to cut back inside and avoid two Giant defenders.
But back at the line of scrimmage, officials ruled that wide receiver Frank Grant, who had gone in motion from the left side, apparently took one too many steps unfield before the snap count.
A touchdown at that point would have provided a 13-0 Redskin lead. Instead, they were forced to punt and the Giants all breathed a sigh of relief.
Four minutes later, the Giants got the ball back at the Redskin 47 and on second and eight, rookie quarterback Pisarcik hit Bobby Hammond with a routine sideline pass for a six-yard gain.
But field judge Fred Swearingen ruled that Curtis was a bit too brutal in knocking Hammond out of bounds and quickly pitched his yellow flag "right in my face mask," an angry Curtis said later on. Curtis threw it right back at him.
"Yes, I tackled the guy high on the sideline," said Curtis, "but I was consciously trying not to draw my arm back. The calls are such lousy calls, you don't know what to do.
"And then he (the official) hit me right in the face (with the flag). It was a terrible call, terrible call. Nah, he didn't have anything to say. It's sheer incompetence. He's loating around there trying to learn the rules . . . but you sure can't blame it on the refs, can you. That's for sure."
The Giants had a first down at the Redskin 24, and they did not waste it. On third and three at the 17, Kotar came Curtis way around left end, got a stunning block from left end, got a stunning block from Larry Csonka and cut around the corner for a 17-yard touchdown run.
"For him to travel 17 yards, I don't see how he could go that far," Curtis said. "It's upsetting, I can't wait to see the films."
The Redskins will also be grimacking when they review the Giants' second touchdown, set up when John Mendenhall bopped the ball out of Kilmer's hands and Brian Kelly recovered at the Washington 25.
Two plays later, Piscarcik sint Robinson running a basic slant-in pattern and somehow hummed the ball to the swift wide receiver with cornerback Gerard Williams and safeties Ken Houston and Eddie Brown all area.
"We defensed that play well," Houston insisted. "There were two receivers in the area, and I thought he (Pisarcik) was going to throw to the tight end. Gerard was right there, the guy (Robinson) had great concentration and made a great catch."
Danelo's extra point gave the Giants a 14-6 lead with 7:07 left in the game, and many in the crowd of 53-903 began heading for the parking lots. No one even bothered to call for Joe Theismann to replace Kilmer.
Someone asked Theismann if he was ever asked to warm up during the game.
"Don't ask a stupid question," he said. "Did you see me warm up . . . I don't make coaching decisions. I don't decide who plays. All I do is my best as a football player."
The Giants, meanwhile added to their lead when Kilmer's pass intended for Grant was intercepted on the sideline by Ray Rhodes, who then returned the ball 40 yards to the Redskin 23.
The Giants killed off another 3 1/2 minutes before Danelo came on to kick a 20-yard pop shot with 3:03 left to play, and that was that.
In addition to all their other sinks the Redskins at times were guilty of the most basic foul-ups. They had 12 men on the field for one Giant extra point. They had to call time-out with two seconds left in the third quarter to avoid a delay-of-game penalty, and they blew another time-out late in the fourth quarter to make a substitution.
"When you hurt yourself, that's a bad loss." Allen said later on. "The thing to do now is you've got to forget it. If you dwell on it, it's too negative. We have to be as positive as we possibly can."
What about lineup changes, he was asked.
"It's pretty hard to make changes with as many guys as we've got banged up," he said. But we'll be back that's the test of all great athletes and teams." CAPTION: Picture 1, Mike Thomas has a pass slip through his hands at the goal line in the second quarter.; Picture 2, Beasley Reece defends.; Picture 3, Fake field goal failed to pick up first down on next play. Photo by [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] - The Washington Post; Picture 4, George Allen is a concerned coach on the Redskin sideline. By James A. [WORD ILLEGIBLE] - The Washington Post; Picture 5, Redskin Charley Taylor clings to pass for 14-yard gain despite hard tackle by Giant Bill Bryan.; Picture 6, Taylor was carried from the field and did not return.; Picture 7, He suffered hamstring injury., Photos by Richard Darcey (left) and James M. Thresher - The Washington Post; Picture 8, Eddie Brown was a bright spot for Redskins with 113 return yards., By James M. Thresher - The Washington Post; Picture 9, Giant wide receiver Jimmy Robinson exults in end zone., By Richard Darcey - The Washington Post