For 'Skins, seven turnovers equal 1 ugly loss

Giants pile up 17 points off Washington mistakes

Brunell injures hamstring

Nfl Gameday

Giants 20, Redskins 14

Week Two

September 20, 2004|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN STAFF

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It was the start of the second quarter yesterday and the Washington Redskins were precisely where they had hoped and fully expected to be.

Leading 7-0, Washington had just thrown Ron Dayne for a loss on fourth down and took over, with New York Giants fans sensing their team was beginning an inevitable slide toward the team's 10th straight regular-season defeat.

Three plays later, Washington quarterback Mark Brunell fumbled, and the Giants converted the miscue into a touchdown. Then there was another Redskins turnover. And another. And another. And another. And another. And another.

And instead of leaving town feeling giddy about the young season, the Redskins (1-1) were getting on the bus with a 20-14 loss, a gimpy quarterback and questions about how a Joe Gibbs-coached team could have committed a quarter-season's worth of turnovers -- seven -- in a single afternoon.

"When I think back on it, I don't know that I've seen that many [turnovers]," Gibbs said. "You're not going to win games up here when you make the mistakes we made."

Washington's three lost fumbles and two interceptions during the second and third quarters led to 17 New York points.

A sixth turnover, an interception off a pass from Patrick Ramsey, snuffed out a Washington drive deep in Giants territory with 10:18 left in the game and the Redskins trailing 20-14.

Ramsey, in the game for an injured Brunell, tried to go deep on the play to Laveranues Coles, but Gibril Wilson picked the pass off at the 10. "I was trying to take a shot at the end zone," Ramsey said. "I probably should have thrown it away and taken three points."

Brunell left the game during the first series of the second half after injuring a hamstring on a handoff to Clinton Portis. He said afterward that his status is day-to-day.

The seven forced turnovers were the most for the Giants since they forced seven against the Gibbs-coached Redskins in a game on Dec. 7, 1986.

While the number of turnovers was stunning for a Gibbs team, it was equally surprising that the Redskins still had chances to win late in the game.

"We made it real exciting," said Tom Coughlin, who got his first win as Giants coach as the team evened its record at 1-1. "We tried like heck in every situation to make it close and it certainly was, so I'm very, very pleased to win."

Ramsey, beaten out by Brunell for the starting job during the preseason, completed nine of 18 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown but was intercepted three times. The last came with 6:28 left in the game when safety Brent Alexander picked off a pass intended for Rod Gardner at New York's 9-yard line. "I got hit low and the ball fluttered on me," Ramsey said.

Ramsey wasn't the only turnover culprit. Portis, acquired in the offseason from the Denver Broncos, had a string of more than 250 regular-season touches without a turnover dating back to an Oct. 12, 2003 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But he fumbled twice yesterday.

"I know I'm not paid to fumble," said Portis, who ran 20 times for 69 yards and caught a 13-yard touchdown pass. "I know I put our team in a bad situation. Walter Payton fumbled. Barry Sanders fumbled. They're still in the Hall of Fame."

New York had won five of its past seven games vs. the Redskins, and Gibbs is now 12-14 against New York. But the big number for the Giants entering the game was nine -- the number of consecutive defeats suffered by the team, which hadn't won since Nov. 2.

"Don't remind me," said Giants quarterback Kurt Warner. "It's over now."

Warner tried to attack Washington's relentless blitzing with medium-range passes to Amari Toomer, who had six receptions, and Jeremy Shockey, who had five. Warner did not throw an interception and the Giants lost just one fumble.

NOTES: Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington and kicker John Hall played despite minor injuries. Hall used an exercise bike on the sideline to keep his injured hamstring loose. ... Offensive tackle Ray Brown started for Washington instead of Kenyatta Jones, who has been bothered by a swollen ankle.

Washington 7 0 0 7--14

N.Y. Giants 0 20 0 0--20

First quarter Was--Cooley 2 pass from Brunell (Hall kick), 7:24.

Second quarter NYG--Carter 38 pass from Warner (Christie kick), 12:53. NYG--B.Green 16 fumble return (Christie kick), 6:21. NYG--FG Christie 38, 4:34. NYG--FG Christie 22, :37.

Fourth quarter Was--Portis 13 pass from Ramsey (Hall kick), 12:01. A--78,767.

Was NYG

First downs 20 15

Total Net Yards 322 277

Rushes-yards 28-108 28-62

Passing 214 215

Punt Returns 3-26 2-22

Kickoff Returns 5-112 3-67

Interceptions Ret. 0-0 4-14

Comp-Att-Int 19-36-4 22-33-0

Sacked-Yards Lost 4-20 2-17

Punts 4-40.5 6-39.3

Fumbles-Lost 5-3 2-1

Penalties-Yards 7-50 8-50

Time of Possession 30:05 29:55

Rushing--Washington, Portis 20-69, Brunell 2-27, Ramsey 2-17, Betts 3-11, Coles 1-(minus 16). New York, Barber 18-42, Dayne 9-12, Carter 1-8.

Passing--Washington, Brunell 10-18-1-92, Ramsey 9-18-3-142. New York, Warner 22-33-0-232.

Receiving--Washington, Coles 9-100, Gardner 3-66, Cooley 3-14, Portis 2-29, Sellers 1-14, Rasby 1-11. New York, Toomer 6-54, Shockey 5-36, Hilliard 4-37, Carter 3-63, Barber 2-27, Finn 2-15.

Missed field goals--Washington, Hall 41 (WR). New York, Christie 47 (SH), 51 (SH).

Keys to the game

Turnovers: In the NFL, it's nearly impossible to overcome seven turnovers. The Redskins also saw a touchdown run nullified by a false-start penalty in the third quarter.

Kurt Warner's efficiency: The Giants quarterback was cautious with the ball but productive, throwing for 232 yards without an interception.

Second-quarter collapse: Last week, the Redskins had a nightmarish third quarter, making just one first down. This week, the culprit was the second quarter, when New York scored all 20 of its points.

Next for Redskins

Matchup: Dallas Cowboys (1-1) vs. Redskins (1-1)

Site: FedEx Field, Landover

When: Next Monday, 9 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 2, 7/WNAV (1430 AM), WJFK (106.7 FM)

Line: Off the board

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