Hostetler, Redskins stumble to 7-7 tie Giants stay atop NFC East after defenses dominate

November 24, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- The Washington Redskins fans got what they wanted last night.

They got Jeff Hostetler instead of Gus Frerotte at quarterback, but the result wasn't pretty. The Redskins stumbled to a 7-7 overtime tie with the New York Giants in a much-anticipated NFC East duel that didn't settle very much.

The tie left the Giants in first place with a 7-4-1 record. The Redskins remained one game behind at 6-5-1, with the 6-6 Dallas Cowboys in third place.

Hostetler, a 14-year veteran and former Giants starter, came off the bench at the start of the second half to replace an injured Frerotte, who had led Washington to a 7-0 lead.

Frerotte suffered a sprained neck when he head-butted the wall beyond the end zone after scoring on a 1-yard run. He had scrambled to avoid a sack and run around the right side to give the Redskins a 7-0 advantage with 2: 16 remaining in the first half.

Frerotte stayed in for the rest of the first half, but then was taken to a hospital for X-rays, where his neck sprain was diagnosed.

"It was stupid. I was fired up and excited," Frerotte said. "I've butted heads with people many times and this just happened to jam me up."

But it was quite fitting considering the bizarre nature of the game.

"It's unfortunate," said Washington coach Norv Turner, who nonetheless managed to make light of it. "I've never thought to tell a guy not to hit the wall after a touchdown, so we'll put that in our coaches manual next year."

That wasn't the Redskins' only bonehead play of the night, however, They blew a chance to win in the extra period when receiver Michael Westbrook yanked his helmet off to argue after his catch was ruled out of bounds near the Giants' 30.

The resulting 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty took Washington out of field-goal position, and Scott Blanton's 54-yarder fell short with two seconds to play.

"That might be an all-timer," Washington cornerback Darrell Green said of Westbrook's blunder. "I don't think you can ever do anything worse on the football field."

Hostetler (19 of 41 for 213 yards), seeing his most playing time of the season, couldn't put any points on the board in three quarters. He threw three interceptions and fumbled once to waste a super defensive effort by Redskins linebacker Ken Harvey.

Harvey had four sacks and nine tackles against a retreating Giants quarterback Danny Kanell, who was under siege all night.

Hostetler's first interception gave New York the ball 54 yards from the end zone early in the third quarter, yet the Giants needed the help of a 20-yard pass-interference penalty against Green to set up the tying touchdown.

The call against Green gave New York the ball on the Washington 6-yard line, then Tyrone Wheatley ran 2 yards to the 4. Kanell then hit Chris Calloway at the back line of the end zone to tie the game with 6: 58 left in the third quarter.

Neither team could score the rest of the night.

Blanton had a 45-yard field-goal attempt sail wide with 11: 06 left in the fourth quarter.

New York failed to capitalize after stopping Terry Allen on fourth-and-one at the Giants' 40 midway through overtime. The Giants drove to the Redskins' 36, but Brad Daluiso's 54-yard field-goal attempt was wide left.

Daluiso had another 54-yard attempt blocked in overtime, but it was negated when officials ruled the Redskins had called timeout before the snap. The Giants then decided to punt.

The tie left both teams feeling empty.

"To me it feels like a loss," said Redskins defensive tackle William Gaines. "We know now that we definitely have to win four in a row."

Said Kanell: "I'm real upset. I don't know how to react. It feels like a loss to me. We just kind of stopped ourselves."

Pub Date: 11/24/97

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