HERNDON,VA. — HERNDON, Va. -- Start with quarterback Phil Simms, then mix in a few mistakes by the Washington Redskins secondary.
That was the recipe for the three long pass plays that helped the New York Giants beat the Redskins, 24-20, Sunday.
Simms connected with Stephen Baker on an 80-yard touchdown pass in the second period and then threw third-quarter passes of 61 yards to Mark Bavaro and 63 yards to Maurice Carthon that set up the team's other two touchdowns. The three plays accounted for 204 of New York's 332 total yards.
After viewing the videotape yesterday to find out what went wrong for the Redskins, Emmitt Thomas, the team's secondary coach, started out by giving Simms credit for making the throws.
"I think he's one of the top quarterbacks in the league, and he makes you pay when you make a mistake," Thomas said.
The Redskins helped by making mistakes on all three plays. This is the way Thomas viewed them:
* On the pass to Baker, cornerback Brian Davis lost a race on a crossing pattern, and cornerback Martin Mayhew fell down and couldn't help out.
* On the pass to Bavaro, safety Alvin Walton looked too long into the backfield and let Bavaro get by him. "Al made a mistake looking at the quarterback too long," Thomas said.
* On the pass to Carthon, Walton and linebacker Andre Collins had a miscommunication. "We got mixed up," Thomas said. That left Carthon open, and then safety Brad Edwards, who had a chance to hold it to a 20-yard play, missed a tackle and the play went for 63 yards.
Walton was involved in two of the three plays, but Thomas couldn't get his explanation -- particularly of the miscommunication -- because he was excused from practice to make a court appearance in California in a custody battle over his son.
"We have to get his side of it to see what call he made. We don't want to point the finger, but we know it was a missed connection between the safety and the linebacker," Thomas said.
He said he's not sure if Collins got the right call late or whether Walton made the wrong call.
Thomas said he didn't think Bavaro was the primary receiver on his catch, but Simms read the mistake quickly. He also read that Carthon was open right away, although he may have been the primary receiver.
"With a younger or inexperienced quarterback, we would have had a chance to recover. But once Simms got the view of the coverage [on the Bavaro play], he went to his second option so quick and executed it very well," Thomas said.
Thomas said he thinks Walton, who's due back tomorrow when the team opens practice for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, can bounce back.
"He feels bad enough about the situation. He's going to have to come back and work harder and just get sharp and play the kind of football we know he can play," he said.
"That's the life of a defensive back," said Thomas, a four-time Pro Bowl pick as a Kansas City Chiefs defensive back. "You're the last line of defense, and any mistake you make is magnified. You got to be man enough to shoulder the blame, but not let it be detrimental to your play the next week."
NOTES: Offensive-line coach Jim Hanifan said Raleigh McKenzie, promoted to the starting right guard slot over Mark Schlereth against the Giants, will keep the job, although Schlereth will see spot duty. . . . The trading deadline is today, but general manager Charley Casserly said he doesn't expect to make any deals.