'Skins take giant leap backward in debacle

Overall dismal play hangs Gibbs with most lopsided loss

Giants 36 Redskins 0

Gameday

October 31, 2005|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTER

East Rutherford, N.J. -- Several New York Giants players were overwhelmed yesterday by a pre-game tribute to the man who owned the club for 75 years.

Then they went out and overwhelmed the Washington Redskins.

In what was supposed to be a toe-to-toe battle for first place in the NFC East, the Redskins took a fall to the canvas and never recovered as New York outclassed the visitors, 36-0, at Giants Stadium.

Washington, which had been in a three-way tie with the Giants and Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the division, dropped to 4-3 and endured the franchise's most lopsided loss ever under coach Joe Gibbs.

"We all realized what was at stake," said Gibbs, who hadn't been shut out since a 17-0 setback to the Giants in the January 1987 NFC championship game. "It was a big ballgame for us and for them. There was a lot riding on it, and we didn't play well. We've got to take a long, hard look at ourselves."

After the crowd of 78,630 observed a moment of silence for team owner Wellington Mara, who died Tuesday, and listened to the national anthem sung by one of his 40 grandchildren, nothing went right for the Redskins.

The NFL's second-ranked offense committed four turnovers and recorded season lows in total yards (125), rushing yards (38), passing yards (87), first downs (seven) and time of possession (20 minutes, 39 seconds).

Washington had just two first downs by halftime and crossed midfield twice in 16 possessions.

The league's fourth-ranked defense allowed New York running back Tiki Barber to rush for a career-high 206 yards on 24 carries, recording season worsts in total yards (386) and rushing yards (262), and giving up the most points since Gregg Williams became the assistant head coach in charge of defense before the 2004 season.

In the first half, the Giants (5-2) compiled 261 total yards and scored on five of their first eight possessions.

Even Washington's special teams contributed to the rout. A fumbled kickoff return to open the third quarter led to a 10-yard touchdown pass from Giants quarterback Eli Manning to tight end Jeremy Shockey.

"That's about as poor a performance on a team that I've been a part of in my whole life," said Redskins offensive tackle Jon Jansen. "From not protecting the quarterback to turning the ball over to stupid penalties to giving up big plays; all around, it was a bad day for the Redskins."

Added middle linebacker Lemar Marshall: "Anytime you allow an offense to get 36 points, the defense is going to be embarrassed. Anytime you get no points, the offense is going to be embarrassed. It's a slap in the face. We can't allow that."

Washington's Mark Brunell, the NFC's top-rated passer before yesterday, finished with a 32.4 rating as he completed 11 of 28 passes for 65 yards. He was intercepted by former Redskin Antonio Pierce and was sacked three times. He was replaced by Patrick Ramsey late in the third quarter when the game was out of reach.

His counterpart wasn't spectacular as Manning finished with a 51.3 rating on 12-for-31 passing for 146 yards, one touchdown, one interception and two sacks. He didn't need to be great, though, because the Giants relied on their running game to overpower Washington.

Barber, whose previous best outing against Washington was a 28-carry, 126-yard game in 2003, had 171 yards on 16 attempts in the first half.

He ripped off gains of 59 and 57 yards and scored on a 4-yard run late in the third quarter, consistently taking advantage of the right side of the Redskins' defense. He became the first runner to gain 200-plus yards against the Redskins since the Cleveland Browns' Bobby Mitchell had 232 in 1959.

"A.P. [Pierce] told us how they were going to try to stop the run," Barber said. "So we went away from our tendencies and it paid off."

Notes -- Injuries are taking a toll on the Redskins. Defensive tackles Cornelius Griffin (pulled groin muscle) and Joe Salave'a (plantar fasciatis) and offensive tackle Chris Samuels (sprained knee) suffered the most serious of the injuries. Samuels said he will undergo a magnetic imaging resonance exam today. The loss of Griffin and Salave'a forced offensive lineman Lennie Friedman to join the goal-line defense early in the second quarter. ... The team deactivated rookie kicker Nick Novak (Maryland) in favor of previously injured John Hall, who spent his first six years kicking in the swirling winds of the Meadowlands for the New York Jets. Hall, who missed the previous five games with a strained quadriceps, did not step onto the field as punter Derrick Frost handled the kickoff duties. ... Redskins running back Clinton Portis gained a career-low 9 yards on four carries.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

Eagles @Redskins Sunday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN, 1430 AM, 106.7 FM Line: Redskins by 1

Keys to the game

Turnovers

The Redskins turned over the ball four times, which led to 20 New York points. The Redskins now have a minus-9 turnover differential.

Time of possession

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