Beating Giants groggy revives team's spirits

Players told not to get too high on 29-point win

Redskins notebook

September 21, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. -- Another week, another sleepless night.

After a season-opening loss to Dallas, several Washington Redskins players woke up in the middle of the night, recalling the horrible memories of losing a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter. A week later, the Redskins toppled the New York Giants, 50-21, and then didn't want to sleep.

Many Redskins celebrated by partying together as soon as their plane landed Sunday night. Wide receiver Michael Westbrook and six other teammates headed over to defensive end Marco Coleman's house and watched the New York Jets-Buffalo Bills game.

It was a quick turnaround of emotions for Westbrook, who didn't go to sleep until 3 a.m. and had to return to Redskin Park that morning.

"In my five years here, going out was unheard of," said Westbrook, the NFC's leader with 218 yards receiving. New Redskins fullback "Larry Centers said to me: `I can't believe how great this unity is.' I told him: `I can't believe it either.' "

Still, the coaches delivered the same message as last week: Forget about it.

Just as the coaches didn't want the players to get too low after their Week 1 collapse, they stressed not feeling too good after Sunday's performance, especially with the Redskins facing a desperate 0-2 Jets team this Sunday.

"People get caught up in how you win a game," Redskins coach Norv Turner said. "The key is when it's over that you win the game."

Stats of the game

The Redskins scored on their first three drives, covering 68, 88 and 54 yards, while having to encounter just one third down. For the game, they converted 58 percent of their third downs (7-for-12).

Divided line

Offensive line coach Russ Grimm said his players had an above-average game, but made too many mental mistakes. Right guard Tre' Johnson said he and his teammates have proved many critics wrong, but it's too soon to judge the unit after two games.

So, bottom line, is the line good?

"When you have a running back rush for over 120 yards and a quarterback throw for the yards he did with no sacks then the guys had to do something right," Turner said.

Not so special

Coleman received the game ball for defense and the offensive line took home the honors on its side. However, the game ball for the special teams remained with Turner, who instead handed out some stern words for those players.

The kickoff team allowed the Giants to return the ball an average of 22 yards on nine tries. On two kickoffs in the first half, the Giants returned the ball to midfield.

"We're playing some young guys who are making some mistakes and giving the other team opportunities," Turner said. "They're going to get better."

Critical block

On the Redskins' third touchdown of the first quarter, Westbrook cleared the path for Stephen Davis on the left side by blocking Giants cornerback Phillipi Sparks.

Westbrook said he'd hoped former Redskins running back John Riggins was watching. During a preseason television show, Riggins called Westbrook the worst blocking receiver he'd ever seen.

"I take a lot of pride in that," Westbrook said of his blocking.

Et cetera

Davis, who leads the NFL with five rushing touchdowns, is the first Redskins back to rush for more than 100 yards with multiple touchdowns in consecutive weeks since Riggins in January 1993. Middle linebacker Derek Smith bruised a muscle in his right shoulder Sunday and is listed day-to-day. Trainer Bubba Tyer said Smith had a magnetic resonance imaging test yesterday, and it came back normal. Defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield won his first game as a Redskin after losing eight straight, but has yet to record a tackle this season. Stubblefield played in the first seven games last year, when the team started 0-7, and then suffered a season-ending knee injury. The Redskins lead the NFC with a plus-four turnover ratio.

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.