Taylor stands tall in RFK curtain call Giants linebacker does in Redskins

November 02, 1992|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- If this season is Lawrence Taylor's long goodbye, the New York Giants' perennial All-Pro linebacker delivered a stirring curtain call at RFK Stadium last night.

Taylor's RFK farewell was one to savor, as the Giants upset the Washington Redskins, 24-7, in a steady drizzle.

He turned back the clock when he stripped Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien of the ball on a fourth-quarter sack, and the Giants cashed in the turnover for a big field goal.

Matt Bahr's chip-shot, 18-yard field goal gave the Giants a 24-7 lead with eight minutes left.

For Taylor, it was his first sack against the Redskins since 1989, a stretch of five sackless performances. He has had some of his biggest career games against the Redskins.

"It's been a good career," said Taylor, 33, who has announced he will retire after this season. "Any time you're able to come here and beat the Redskins, you're happy."

For the struggling Giants (4-4), it was like old times all around. Before last year's series sweep by the Redskins, the Giants had made a habit of tormenting Washington coach Joe Gibbs, winning six straight and nine of 10. Gibbs is 11-13 against the Giants in his 12-year career.

Last night the Giants did it with stifling defense and a ball-control running game, the trademarks of their two Super Bowl seasons. Running back Rodney Hampton rushed for 138 yards and the Giants held the Redskins to 61 yards on the ground.

The victory comes at a time when New York fans are screaming for coach Ray Handley to be fired.

"We've had a lot of distractions," defensive end Leonard Marshall said. "People were talking about our coach and trying to pit players against the coach."

"It's a very important win for us at this time," Handley said. "It puts us back in the race a little bit. We hadn't been able to win two in a row. We haven't handled success very well. We hope this will give us some momentum."

The defense was instrumental in setting the tone. And Taylor's performance seemed to rise with the Giants' play overall.

"You have to understand, we do have a good team," he said. "We need the right circumstances."

The Giants relied on their nickel defense to establish those circumstances.

"We said if we could stay in the nickel and play the run in the nickel, we would have a solid defense," Taylor said.

The Giants broke a 7-7 tie with two touchdowns in the last three minutes of the first half. Quarterback Jeff Hostetler threw scoring passes of 17 yards to Ed McCaffrey and 4 yards to Dave Meggett to open a 21-7 halftime lead.

McCaffrey ran a fade pattern at the goal line and took Hostetler's pass away from A. J. Johnson. Meggett double-clutched a short pass over the middle with eight seconds left in the half.

Hostetler threw for 161 yards and the Giants rushed for 241.

"There's no surprise," center Bart Oates said of the Giants' new-found running game. "Being capable and doing it are two different things. We're capable of rushing for 200 yards every game."

Said Hostetler: "It's the first time we've put two games together. To win down here, that will give us some confidence we need offensively and defensively."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.