Taylor, Giants blitz Redskins in 24-7 upset Linebacker's sack closes RFK chapter

November 02, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- This was a nightmare revisited for the Washington Redskins.

The old New York Giants turned into the same old Giants last night at RFK Stadium.

For one night at least, these were the Giants who beat the Redskins nine times in 10 non-strike games in a four-year span from 1986 to 1990.

With Rodney Hampton running for 138 yards and with Jeff Hostetler passing for 161 and scrambling for 27 yards on one critical play, the Giants, who were 10 1/2 -point underdogs, stunned the Redskins, 24-7, last night.

Then there was LT. In what was supposed to be his final game at RFK Stadium, Lawrence Taylor made the play of the game.

"I doubt if I'll outlast Lawrence Taylor," said coach Joe Gibbs, who still won't concede that Taylor is retiring at the end of the year.

Taylor already had conceded he's not the player he once was and he hadn't gotten a sack in his last five games against the Redskins.

He couldn't have picked a more appropriate time to end that streak than early in the fourth quarter when the Redskins, trailing were making an attempt to get back in the game.

They had taken over on their 15 late in the third quarter and marched to the Giants 36.

On first down, quarterback Mark Rypien went back to pass and Taylor dipped under Mo Elewonibi, roared in on the back side and knocked the ball out of Rypien's hands.

Leonard Marshall fell on the ball and the game was over.

"One time in the game where we had something going and he comes in from the back side and kind of nullifies the drive and any momentum you have," Rypien said. "The game I felt was still in reach."

It wasn't in reach after that. The Giants went down to the 1-yard line (Dave Meggett appeared to score, but the officials ruled he was down an inch before the goal line) and Matt Bahr then kicked an 18-yard field goal that put it out of reach.

All that was left was for the Redskins to salute LT.

"He's one of the greats who'll ever play the game," Rypien said. "It's fortunate for us we'll only see him one more time, maybe two in the playoffs."

Elewonibi, the victim of Taylor's rush, said, "If he's not what he used to be, I would have hated to see him in his prime. He's still an All-Pro."

The loss left the Redskins with a 5-3 record as they face three straight road games in Seattle, Kansas City and New Orleans. The Giants are 4-4.

The Redskins, suffering the traditional problems that plague Super Bowl champions, are now two games behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. For all practical purposes, they've got to be thinking more about a wild-card berth now than the division title.

Their first priority is to find their offense. They've now gone 11 quarters without scoring a touchdown on offense.

"They are a darn good football team and we couldn't sustain anything," Gibbs said. "We got whipped all around and there's not any more you can say. We just haven't produced on offense."

The Giants lined up in a nickel defense, daring the Redskins to run and giving LT a chance to rush the pass. For most of this season, the Giants had used Taylor more in pass coverage and he didn't like that role.

"That's not me," he said. "I've been playing 12 years and I'm better when I'm rushing the passer."

But the Redskins couldn't run against the nickel defense. Earnest Byner got only 32 yards in nine carries and Ricky Ervins gained 29 in eight carries.

That left the Redskins trying to pass against a pass defense and Rypien completed only 14 of 31 passes for 187 yards.

"It's not really one thing," Rypien said. "It's a combination of a few things. Every time we got something going, something happened. We were spotty here and spotty there."

Even an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown by Brian Mitchell that gave the Redskins a 7-0 lead didn't make any difference.

"That usually gets us pumped up," Mitchell said. It didn't.

Hostetler came back with three first-half touchdown drives of 68, 89 and 67 yards to give the Giants command of the game.

On the second drive, the Giants were forced to punt and the Redskins were called for having 12 men on the field because the officials saw A. J. Johnson running off the field. He didn't make it, so the official threw the flag.

The Redskins said they only had 11 men on the field and would have had 10 -- which is legal -- if Johnson had gotten off. It was just one of those days.

The Redskins also were the victim of mismatches on two touchdown plays. Jarrod Bunch, 6 feet 2 and 248 pounds, ran over Martin Mayhew, 5-8 and 172, on an 8-yard touchdown run and Ed McCaffrey, 6-5, reached up over Johnson, 5-8, to catch a 17-yard touchdown pass.

The Redskins lost two linebackers to neck injuries. Monte Coleman suffered a pinched nerve and Kurt Gouveia a sprain. Former World League player John Brantley finished at middle linebacker.

"It's been awhile since we got beat like that," Gibbs said.

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