New York Giant defensive left end George Martin bedeviled Washington yesterday with four sacks, one causing Joe Thiesmann to fumble and give up a touchdown.
Martin disparages the Redskin offense.
"My personal opinion," he said, "is that Washington has the least talented offense we have ever faced.
"But," he said, offering the Redskins a bit of a sweetener, "they have a lot of spirit and determination. The crowd got them going, and that was motivation enough."
It was the Giants' first loss to Washington in the last five games between the two rivals, and it came on the coat-tails of a disastrous slump. The Giants had dropped their own previous games, to lowly New Orleans and St. Louis.
A win would have plunked the Giants back into the playoff race, one game back of the Redskins in the NFC East. At 5-6, prospects for the playoff look dim.
"I wouldn't want to go to the playoffs the way we're playing now," said miiddle linebacker Harry Carson, who was victimized by Mike Thomas for the touchdown that tied the game at 13-13. "This loss might hurt our playoff hopes, but we haven't been playing playoff-type football.
"I would love to go, if our offense, defense and special teams could all play well. But the way it is now, speaking just for me, I wouldn't want to go."
Carson said there appeared to be no way to stop Thomas from scoring from the one-yard line, where the Redskins had a first-and-goal with 1:08 left in regulation time.
"In our 6-1 goal line defense, I was to cover two holes," said Carson. "That defense leaves the middle exposed, and I try to cover the hole over center, and the hole (over right tackle) that they ran through for the touchdown.
"If I had blocked that hole, they probably would have scored anyway though the other one, because when Washington runs a power play like that, with the fullback (Clarence Harmon) leading the way to the hole, you'll seldom stop it. He barely scored. But he did."
At that point momentum swung strongly toward Washington, and the Skins marched right up the field on their two overtime possessions. It was a marked difference fro the rest of the game, but Carson disputed the claim that the Giant defense tired.
"I don't care what anybody says about the defense being out there too long," Carson said. "That's what we're paid for."
Nonetheless, defensive tackle Troy Archer who ran Theismann's fumble in for a touchdown, said his immediate reaction to his first touchdown in his three-year pro career was, "I was just tired.That was all I felt."
Martin was shakes up in the fourth quarter and had to stand by nervously while Washington drove up the field in sudden-death overtime. He found some relief when Washington missed a first-down field goal from 35 yards.
"It (sitting out) was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my professional career," said Martin, "because there's a hatred between the Giants and Washington and I just can't explain.
"The feeling was unexplainable - like someone holding a brass ring in front of your face and not being able to reach it."
Giant quarterback Joe Pisarcik said play-calling from the bench frustrated him.
"I can summarize the whole game by our series in overtime when we had first and 10 at our 20," Pisarcik said. "We run (Doug) Kotar twice for one yard and in between we throw a quick screen to (wide receiver) Johnny Perkins for four.
"Now remember what Washington had just done on the series before - zoom up the field. It was like watching a tennis match. I felt we should have opened up our game right away. I would have liked to have dropped back (and thrown long, but hindsight is always 20 20."
The Giants have a history of quarterback woes. Yesterday it seemed that they did not trust Pisarcik to throw deep or go offbeat for the big gains, as he did with a flea flicker pass in the last Giant victory over Washington.
The Redskins finally found their feet yesterday when Theismann began sticking short passes to his backs as well as the other receivers.
"They obviously couldn't run against us (the Skins had 99 yards rushing), so they tried the quick passes," Martin said. "We had good pressure up front so Theismann couldn't set up the long pass. He really had no choice. The short pass was the only avenue we allowed them."
Martin said Theismann got sacked because he tips plays.
"Theismann has a gimmick, a flaw in his pass setup," said Martin. "He starts to move back before he gets the ball. I used it as a signal and I just took off.
"(Redskin right tackle Jeff) Williams didn't have a chance to get out of his stance, and I just went right around him."