Redskins, Giants play to 7-7 tie N.Y. stays atop NFC East after defenses dominate

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

LANDOVER -- The battle for for the lead in the NFC East ended with a no-decision last night.

In a game controlled by defenses and marked by turnovers, poor field-goal kicking and generally stupid plays, the Washington Redskins and New York Giants walked off the field at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium with a 7-7 tie.

The Redskins' last chance to win was squandered when Michael Westbrook pulled his helmet off to protest a call, costing his team 15 yards. Scott Blanton's 53-yard field-goal attempt with two seconds left wasn't close.

The win keeps the Giants (7-4-1) a game ahead of the Redskins (6-5-1) in the NFC East with four games left.

On a night when Gus Frerotte's moment of jubilation turned into a sprained-neck nightmare, 14-year veteran Jeff Hostetler came off the bench at the start of the second half and didn't exactly distinguish himself with three interceptions and a fumble.

But he got a lot of help from a Ken Harvey-led defense that held off the Giants and sent the game into overtime.

Frerotte apparently sprained his neck near the end of the first half while celebrating a 1-yard run for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with two minutes and 16 seconds remaining in the half.

Frerotte head-butted the wall behind the end zone moments after he had changed boos into cheers. He remained in the game the rest of the first half and completed two short passes but did not come out for the second half.

Early reports said Frerotte had a jammed neck but later his injury was officially ruled a neck sprain.

Washington had a chance to break up the 7-7 tie with 11: 06 left in the fourth quarter when Blanton lined up for a 45-yard field goal.

But Blanton's kick sailed wide of the goal posts and Redskins were still in a nip-and-tuck struggle with the NFC East Division leaders.

Hostetler was an hit on his first two passes, completing a 14-yarder to Westbrook and a 15-yard pass to Jamie Asher.

But things quickly turned sour for the veteran quarterback, as he attempted to hit fullback Marc Logan on a short pass in the flat and the ball was knocked into the air and intercepted by Phillippi Sparks at the New York 46.

The Giants then drove for a tying touchdown with the help of a pass interference penalty on Darrell Green that gave New York a first down at the Washington 6.

Two plays later, Danny Kanell hit Chris Calloway at the back line of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass to pull the Giants into a 7-7 tie with 6: 58 left in the third quarter.

Washington put on a defensive clinic in the second quarter, applying relentless pressure on Kanell, who caved in with a fumble that set up the only touchdown in the first half for a 7-0 Redskins lead.

Redskins linebacker Ken Harvey came barreling down on Kanell for the sack at the New York 26 and Kenard Lang fell on it for Washington at the Giants' 27.

Five plays later, Frerotte ran away from pressure and rolled around the right side for a 1-yard touchdown run with 2: 16 left in the first half.

Frerotte was being chased out of the pocket by left end Bernard Holsey, sidestepped him at the 7-yard line and saw nothing but wide open spaces around the right side. The slow-afoot Frerotte made it fairly easily.

Frerotte celebrated the touchdown by running through the end zone and making his unwise choice to head-butt the wall beyond the end zone.

The key play in the short drive to the end zone was a Frerotte swing pass to James Jenkins down the left sideline for a 20-yard gain to the New York 2-yard line.

When the Washington offense ran into trouble early in the second quarter, the Redskins fans continued their season-long habit of booing Frerotte.

Frerotte wasn't blameless because he had overthrown a couple of receivers but he was hurt by a dropped pass by Chris Thomas at the Giants' 30.

Pub Date: 11/24/97

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