"Sometimes we don't get the job done," Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor admitted. "But when we put our minds to it, we do."
They did today. In every way possible.
Sometimes close to invisible when the Giants play the Redskins, Taylor was individually sensational with nine solo tackles, three assists and one quarterback sack.
The Giants' often-inept offense produced 117 more yards and dominated an area vital to the Redskins: time of possession.
"Hey, we played hard last week, too," quarterback Phil Simms said of the 24-10 loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia. The effort was rewarded early and often today.
For instance, former Navy star Phil McConkey had an afternoon in which goat horns sprouted, then receded, and were replaced by a halo.
McConkey muffed a punt that gave the Redskins the ball at the New York 17 with nearly 12 minutes left in the first quarter. Fortunately for him, Jeff Moore fumbled the ball back to the Giants.
Later, McConkey caught two passes for 62 yards and returned five punts and two kickoffs for 61. He was part of a Giant stable of receivers open often and able to squirm for additional yards after the catch.
"I just got a feeling in the second quarter that we were really on," said Brad Benson, moved from guard to tackle today. "I thought they'd have to play super well to beat us."
The Redskins' playing less than super well could be attributed, in part, to injuries. Especially on the offensive line.
"Their changes (on the offensive line) didn't hurt them," defensive end George Martin argued. "It probably was on their minds more than ours. They just didn't seem to get it going."
"It's been a long time coming against the Redskins," Coach Bill Parcells added. "I'm under no illusions about my team, but we have some talent.
"I just have a funny feeling. Don't count the New York Giants out yet."
Redskins defenders were left to wonder how Simms could be so cool under so much pressure. "He stood in there and really took some licks," said Washington defensive end Tony McGee.
When these two teams played six weeks ago, the Redskins limited Simms to 22 completions in 45 attempts. Cornerback Vernon Dean intercepted Simms three times, returning one for a touchdown, and the Redskins won, 30-14.
"He's the same guy. He just completed the passes this time," said defensive tackle Darryl Grant. Added free safety Curtis Jordan, "We could point a thousand fingers. We all played poorly today."
Had quarterback Joe Theismann not thrown that four-yard scoring pass to running back Jeff Moore in the fourth quarter, this would have been the Redskins' lowest scoring game since Mike Krucek replaced an injured Theismann in a 10-6 loss to Atlanta during the 1980 season. That game was Theismann's only missed start since he became the team's No. 1 quarterback in the 1978 season.
"Now, we have to regroup. We got our butt beat. But I think it would be premature to say we're desperate now," linebacker Monte Coleman said, after the Redskins' defense played another game without injured strong safety Tony Peters. He remained on the sideline nursing his lower abdominal pull, while Ken Coffey played on all downs.
Russ Grimm, the all-pro left guard, added, "I still think we have the potential to go back to the Super Bowl . . . If we don't, it's our own fault. We still get to play the Cardinals, Dallas and the Eagles."
About the only light touch of a bleak afternoon for the Redskins came after the game. That's when General Manager Bobby Beathard, an avid runner, was asked how he had finished in his first try at the New York City Marathon this morning.
"Two-21," said Beathard, with nearly a straight face, before adding, "for 19 miles. I dropped out there. I was dying with the (75-degree) heat. Good thing I carried cab fare in the pocket of my shorts or I might not have made it back."