Redskins go long with B. Johnson to defeat Giants, 16-6

QB throws for 2 TDs, 289 yards

Washington raises record to .500

September 25, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J — EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -James Thrash picked himself up off the turf, balled his fist and flung it wildly toward the ground after his 46-yard completion from quarterback Brad Johnson early in the second quarter.

He wasn't showing up the defensive back. Just expressing relief that the missing piece from last year's explosive offense had returned.,

A play later, the Redskins made sure everyone knew their big-play capability was back. Johnson hit Irving Fryar for a 23-yard touch-down to put Washington up 7-0, and the Redskins maintained the lead throughout in pulling off a 16-6 victory over the New York Giants in front of 78,216 last night at Giants Stadium.

The convincing win relieved many of the doubts some Redskins (2-2) expressed about the team last week. More specifically, those two pass plays in the second quarter relieved questions about the offense for now.

They served as the longest back-to-back passing plays this season. In fact, the Redskins' longest pass play of the season was only 26 yards.

But the deep ball returned last night. On the Redskins' next possession after forcing a Giants (3-1) punt, Johnson hit wide receiver Albert Connell down the middle of the field for 48 yards.

That play helped setup a 25-yard Michael Husted field goal that put the Redskins up 10-0 with just over six minutes left in the half.

The first-half netted just 10 points, but it did stop any thoughts of Turner turning to backup quarterback Jeff George. The Redskins were forced to punt on their first two possessions. But Johnson looked comfortable after the big completion to Thrash.

He went eight of 11 for 158 yards in the half, but more importantly, did not toss any interceptions. Johnson looked a little more like the quarterback that threw for 4,005 yards in the Redskins' second-ranked offense last season. Johnson finished 14 of 20 for 289 yards and two touchdowns.

It wasn't perfection because running back Stephen Davis' rushed for only 27 yards on 12 carries, but it was enough for the Redskins' defense, which rebounded from a bad night on Monday night against the Cowboys.

The Giants combo of Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne had moderate success running the ball, gaining 55 yards between the two. Washington did, however, force New York into four third-and-long situations from over 7 yards out.

In various parts of the second quarter and end of the half, the Giants' crowd sounded much like the one at FedEx Field last week with its displeasure of the offense's performance. Then the crowd went to stunned with a little more than a minute gone in the second half.

Johnson again went deep to Connell from the Redskins' 26, who made a leaping catch down the sideline, fell down, got up and finally was brought down at the Giants' 21 for a 53-yard completion.

A play later, Johnson hit Andree Reed for a 21-yard touchdown pass to put the Redskins up 16-0. Husted missed the extra point.

Then the Redskins' defense used New York's ball-control offense against it. The Giants went on an 13-play drive that ate up over five off the clock and netted no points midway through the third quarter.

On a third-and-nine from the Redskins' 39, defensive end Kenard Lang sacked Giants' quarterback Kerry Collins for an 11-yard loss. New York punted and the Redskins marched down to he Gians' 12 behind Davis' legs.

Husted missed a 29-yard kick but the Redskins' chewed the remaining four minutes off the third quarter and a couple off the fourth.

It forced the Giants into an al-pass mode, which moved them from their 20 to the Redskins' 23 rather quickly. But with eight minutes remaining, Collins tried to force a pass into Ike Hilliard in the end zone allowing Deion Sanders made his first interception as a Redskin.

Sanders brought the ball out 32 yards, ending any threat of a Giants' comeback and sending many of the fans home early. The Giants scored a late touchdown on a seven-yard Collins to Hilliard pass but failed on the two-point conversion.

Now, after having the national media spotlight on them all of last week with a number of doom-and-gloom stories, things should return to normal for the Redskins.

Johnson will remain the starter, rumors of Turner's departure should quiet, and the Redskins will start prepartions for Tampa Bay's visit to FedEx Field next Sunday.

With a win over Tampa Bay next week, Washington would have the same record as the Bucs, thought by many to be the NFC's best team through the first quarter of the season.

NOTES: Strong-side linebacker LaVar Arrington made his first start of the season in place of Greg Jones. Turner made the decision at game time. Fullback Larry Centers (elbow), wide receiver Derrius Thomspon, cornerback Lloyd Harrison, guard Michael Moore, defensive end Derrick Ham, tight end James Jenkins, quarterback Todd Husak and center Cory Raymer were inactive for the game. Jenkins had played in 101 straight regular-season games for the Redskins.

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