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 -- After eight years without a tie in the NFL, the Washington Redskins and New York Giants played the second one in two weeks.

After an ugly overtime last night in which the Redskins had three turnovers and a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Michael Westbrook, the game ended in a 7-7 tie that left the Giants in first place in the NFC East.

There were 22 punts, 10 sacks and Washington quarterback Gus Frerotte put himself in the hospital by ramming his head into a wall.

Philadelphia tied the Ravens, 10-10, a week earlier for the first deadlock in the league since 1989.

Last night's tie was the first for Washington since overtime began in 1974. It was the Giants' first tie since 1983.

The result keeps the Giants (7-4-1) in first place in the NFC East, ahead of the Redskins (6-5-1) and Dallas Cowboys (6-6) with four games to play.

The Redskins blew a chance to win in the extra period when Westbrook yanked his helmet off to argue after his catch was ruled out of bounds near the Giants' 30. The resulting 15-yard took Washington out of field goal position, and Scott Blanton's 54-yarder fell short with two seconds to play.

On a night when 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 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.

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 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.

Pub Date: 11/24/97

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