Tuesday, October 16, 2018

1993 Giants @ Redskins

Week 6

The Setup

The Giants franchise over the years has not treated their fans to many blowouts.  Most games the Giants play tend to be nail biters and stress inducing games that doesn’t allow fans to relax.  Perhaps the trigger came from the 1978 Miracle at the Meadowlands when “Paterson Plank” Joe Pisarcik botched a late handoff to Larry Csonka in what should have been a win vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, only to have them fumble and let Herman Edwards run it in for a TD.  That changed many things afterwards, specifically going with the “victory formation” kneel down to salt away wins for sure.  Using that game as the flashpoint for the Giants rebirth, in that after that happened and the 1978 season concluded, Pete Rozelle jumped in to assist the feuding Maras and put George Young in at GM.  Young would draft Phil Simms in 1979 and Lawrence Taylor in 1981 and the Giants would be back on the road to respectability and eventually the start the core of a championship team.

But if you go back since 1979 and if we want to define a real blowout where there is no doubt of the outcome and say it is any game in which the Giants win by more than 4 TDs (28 points or more), the list isn’t that long.

  • 1981 Giants @ Seahawks: 32-0
  • 1985 Giants @ Cardinals: 34-3
  • 1986 Giants vs Eagles: 35-3
  • 1986 Giants vs Packers: 55-24
  • 1988 Giants vs Cardinals: 44-7
  • 1989 Giants vs Cardinals: 35-7
  • 1996 Giants @ Lions: 35-7
  • 1999 Giants vs Saints: 31-3
  • 2002 Giants vs Cowboys: 37-7
  • 2005 Giants vs Redskins: 36-0
  • 2008 Giants @ Rams: 41-13
  • 2008 Giants @ Seahawks: 44-6
  • 2009 Giants vs Raiders: 44-7
  • 2009 Giants @ Redskins: 45-12
  • 2010: Giants @ Seahawks: 41-7
  • 2012: Giants @ Panthers: 36-7
  • 2012: Giants vs Packers: 38-10
  • 2012: Giants vs Eagles: 42-7
  • 2014: Giants @ Redskins: 45-14
  • 2014: Giants @ Titans: 36-7

Now, that is just in the regular season.  The Giants have done the trick 3 times in the playoffs as well

  • 1986 NFC Divisional Playoff vs 49ers: 49-3
  • 1990 NFC Divisional Playoff vs. Bears: 31-3
  • 2000 NFC Championship vs Vikings: 41-0

So over the course of the past nearly 40 years since 1979, in roughly 640 games total in the regular season, the Giants have let Giants fans relax to a win 20 times with at least a 4 TD cushion.  A grand total of 3.1% of the games the Giants have played in that span (and you wonder why Giants fans are wrecks during games).  Well, to be fair, the number is actually 21 games and the topic of this review (so the percentages goes up to 3.2%), the 1993 Giants @ Redskins tilt at RFK Stadium.  

The Game Highlights

The Redskins won the toss and elected to receive.  After a false start with the ball blowing off the tee, Brad Daluiso would kick off to the back of the end zone to Brian Mitchell for a touchback.  On would come Mark Rypien who was back at QB after missing time with a knee injury.  First down on the 20, we are treated to referee Red Cashen, who tells us that the game clock was broken, so time was being kept on the field.  So with that, the Redskins begin with a short drop by Rypien out to veteran WR Art Monk in the flat at the 22 yard line and he would turn up the field to the 27 yard line, hit down by David Tate but good for a nice 7 yard gain.  2nd and 3, Rypien would change the play and go with a run to Reggie Brooks, who turned the corner to his left and got whacked by Michael Brooks and fell forward to the 37, and good for a first down.  First down, Rypien handed off to Brooks, who spun away from a hit in the backfield by Mike Fox and almost looked like a flea flicker, but he kept his feet moving and surged ahead to the 41 where he was hit down by Brooks.  2nd and 6, Rypien back and with his main target covered to his right, he went to his secondary option on the left in Brooks, who had the ball bounce off his hands and Perry Williams just missed a diving INT.  3rd and 6, Rypien would drop back and get the ball to Mitchell who came out of the backfield and he caught it at the 44 and would get nailed by Tate and Jessie Armstead one yard short of a first down.  Redskins coach Richie Pettibone thought about going for it for a moment, but decided to send the former Miami Dolphin Pro Bowl punter Reggie Roby on the field to boot the ball away.  Roby would hit a high punt, but not far as he tried to pooch it, and had the ball fair caught by Dave Meggett at the 11 yard line with 12:12 to go in the first quarter.

Starting fairly deep in their own territory, the Giants started with a run by Lewis Tillman off right tackle for a good 5 yard gain out to the 16 yard line, hit down by former Viking Al Noga.  2nd and 5, Tillman again with the carry, and he cut back over the middle out to the 20 where he was hit down by Kurt Gouevia.  3rd and 1, with Meggett the lone setback, the Giants gave the ball to the scatback and he ran to his left and got the first down at the 23, taken down by Gouveia.  First down, the Giants stayed on the ground again, gave to Tillman where he was hit by Bobby Wilson behind the line but was able to drag him ahead for a 2 yard gain.  2nd and 8, Simms dropped back for his first pass, stepped up away from the rush from Jason Buck, and found TE Derek Brown wide open in the flat at the 29 and the former first round pick took the ball out to the 33, where he was wrapped up by Darrell Green but enough for a first down.  Simms would drop back again, with all day to throw and hit Mike Sherrard deep over the middle out at the Washington 46 yard line and Sherrard took the ball to the 43 for a first down, hit down by Green.  First down the ball went to Tillman, running to his right, only gained 2 yards, hit by Wilson.  2nd and 8, Simms back, again with plenty of time and dumped it to Meggett, who just went beyond the line of scrimmage and caught the ball, got away from 2 Redskins linebackers and ran to his left and was pushed out of bounds by Monte Coleman at the 29 yard line and on the play Green hurt his leg trying to make a tackle.  The Giants would pitch to Tillman running to his right, but the Redskins read it and he was hit down for no gain.  2nd and 10, again Tillman got the ball running to his left, but he quickly cut back to the middle, and got the ball out to the 21 yard line for a 7 yard gain, hit down by former Viking Brad Edwards.  3rd and 3, the Redskins came on a blitz, which was read by Simms and picked up by the line, and he dumped it over the middle to Ed McCaffrey at the 17 yard line as the hot man on the blitz and Easy Ed took the ball out to the 9 yard line, hit by Edwards and Green.  First and goal, the ball went to Tillman running to his right and charged straight ahead to the 3 yard line, hit down by Edwards and company.  On 2nd and goal the Giants would cash in on their marathon drive

With the benefit of hindsight, this drive should have been a harbinger of things to come in this game for the Redskins.  The Giants pretty much toyed with the Redskins defense on this opening drive and dominated at the line of scrimmage, whether it be the run or Simms sitting back to pass with no pressure.  In this case, at the goal line, Tillman took the handoff, ran to his left, behind Jumbo Elliott and William Roberts, and followed pulling guard Bob Kratch to blast into the end zone for a TD on a demoralising opening drive.  David Treadwell put through the extra point to make the score 7-0 with 4:18 to go in the first quarter, in all a 13 play, 89 yard drive which took 7:54 off the clock and the only thing which stopped the Giants was the end zone or it would have kept going.

Daluiso came on to kickoff actually sent the ball through the uprights and out of the end zone and into the stands on one hop.  Redskins at the 20, Rypien with a short drop and threw a quick out to Rickey Sanders, who was hit immediately by Mark Collins at the 25 for a 5 yard gain.  2nd and 5, Rypien set up a screen pass with Lawrence Taylor coming from the left and into Rypien’s face, and threw just over LT’s head to Mitchell at the 21, with blockers in front and he took the ball out to the 30, where he was cut down by Collins but good for a first down.  The Redskins tried a variation of the counter trey to the right with Mitchell, but the Giants read it well and Mitchell was hit in the backfield by Fox and Carlton Bailey for a loss.  2nd and 11, LT came in on a pass rush and spun right into Rypien’s face and forced a quick pass over the middle to Monk but was too high.  3rd and 11, Rypien was back, but with plenty of time threw a pass to Sanders for what would have been a first down, but he got hit by Tate to knock it loose and nearly had the rebound picked off by Armstead.  On 4th and 11, Roby came on to punt the ball to Meggett at the 33 yard line and the punt returner took it up the sidelines and out of bounds at the 46 with 1:59 to go in the first quarter.

The Giants’ second drive would start with a handoff to Tillman running to his right and he cut his way into Redskins’ territory to the 49, hit down by Andre Collins.  2nd and 6, Tillman again up the middle, was hit in the backfield, but kept his feet moving and shoved ahead to the 43 yard line and when they brought out the sticks it showed it was good for a first down.  Again the ball went to Tillman, again he picked his way all the way out to the 37 where he was hit by Edwards and the crowd started to boo the home teams’ effort.  The Giants would stay on the ground again, barreling forward to the 34, moving the pile on the final play of the quarter.  

3rd and 1 to start the 2nd, the Giants came in with a 3 TE lineup and Tillman ran to his left, and just avoided a diving Carl Banks over the pile a la Gary Reasons in Denver, and ducked to his left to get a first down at the 32.  Meggett would take the next carry, running to his left, chased by Collins and into Darrell Green and Meggett launched Green backwards at the 30 yard line and a 2 yard gain.  On 2nd and 8, Simms faked a pitch to the left to Meggett (something to keep in mind later) and threw a quick slant back to the right to Mark Jackson, who caught it at the 24 on a diving play and was taken down by Green.  3rd and 1, the ball was given to Meggett, who cut his way up the middle and hit down by Coleman at the 17.  Dan Reeves would keep it simple, running again with Tillman to his right down to the 12, hit by Collins as the crowd continued to groan.  2nd and 6, Simms would audible and with some confusion, called a time out with 11:51 to go in the 2nd quarter.  Now with the play sorted out, Simms would handoff to Tillman up the middle and he would bounce off a few tacklers and made no gain into a 2 yard gain out to the 10 yard line.  3rd and 3, Simms would dump the ball off to Meggett out of the backfield in the flat to the right where he was hit immediately by AJ Johnson near the first down marker which brought out the sticks where the measurement showed it was a first down.  So first and goal at the 7 yard line, with Aaron Pierce in the backfield, Simms gave to Tillman running to his left and he was hit for no gain by DT Tim Johnson.  On 2nd and goal, Simms would cash in

Simms would drop back and the pocket would start to somewhat collapse around him, but Simms avoided the rush, stepped up in the pocket and when it would seem he would get hit, the rush never got to him and he slung the ball through the shadows and into the back of the end zone to Howard Cross, who might have stolen at TD from Mike Sherrard.  Cross’ spike and “ooomph” was picked up by the CBS audio as the Giants continued their domination.  Treadwell’s extra point would doink off the upright and back towards the line of scrimmage for a miss and kept the score at 13-0 on a 13 play, 53 yard drive which took 7:16 and left 9:43 to go in the half.

Daluiso would kick off and on one of his poorer efforts, squibbed it on a line drive that was fielded by Desmond Howard at the goal line.  The former Heisman Trophy winner ran the ball out to the 28 yard line, hit down by Corey Widmer.  Redskins first down, the ball went to Mitchell running to his right and only gained 2 yards, hit down by Carlton Bailey.  2nd and 8, Washington went to some razzle dazzle, with a handoff to Mitchell, and end around to Howard and a flip back to Rypien.  However, the Giants were not fooled and Rypien dumped the ball off to Howard who got open at the 25 yard line, and he took the ball out to the 40 where he was shoved out by Bailey and good for a first down.  But for all that excitement, the Redskins imploded on the next play

The ball went to Brooks up the middle where he was looking for a lane and started to cut back to his right, but he was met in the hole by Bailey who started to drag him to the ground.  As he was going down, Michael Bailey knocked the ball loose and was recovered by Greg Jackson at the 41.  John Madden made the comment after the play, and it was a prophetic one “If the Giants get the ball here and go in on another score, they can blow this game open right here.”

Well, Madden was more correct than we would know and we saw it on the very next play

On a play earlier, the Giants seemed to set up for a pass by Meggett but went to a slant to Jackson.  Madden said at the time the Giants had a trick play set up with Meggett throwing a pass back to Phil Simms or a deep shot.  In this instance, Meggett took the pitch back to his left and rolled out, but took a few steps back, loaded up, actually double clutched and heaved a deep pass to Sherrard, who despite how long the play seemed to take was a good 10 yard behind the Redskins defense, which you could thank the Giants ability to run that forced the safeties up.  Sherrard easily hauled the pass in at the 7 yard line and strolled into the end zone.  This time Treadwell hit the extra point to make the score 20-0 on Sherrard’s first TD as a NY Giant with 8:14 to go.

Daluiso would kickoff and he would bounce the ball at the goal line and through the end zone for a touchback.  First and 10 at the 20, with LT coming in on Rypien, he dumped the ball in the flat to Mitchell at the 18 and he took the ball up to the 27, hit down by Myron Guyton.  2nd and 3, Mitchell took the handoff, cut back over the middle to the 31, hit down by Brooks but good for a first down.  Rypien back, again with some pressure by LT, dumped the ball off to Mitchell at the 32 yard line and he got out to the 38, hit down by Brooks but a flag was thrown on the play on a hold on the Redskins that set them back to first and 20.  Setting up a screen to Mitchell to the right, was read by George Thornton and Mitchell tackled him at the 26 yard line.  2nd and 16, Rypien tripped coming out of center, got his footing and threw the ball out to Mitchell at the 30 and he was shoved out of bounds by Brooks at the 31.  3rd and 10, Rypien again back, with a rush coming in his face by LT, but he was able to get a strike out to Monk at the 46 and he was hit down at the 49 by Armstead.  First down, Mitchell running to his left gained 4, hit down by Stacey Dillard.  2nd and 6, Rypien hit Tim McGee at the 41 and he would fall forward to the 39, covered up by Tate as the crowd showed some life for the first time.  Rypien would throw an out to Monk, as LT tipped the pass and it was caught by Monk at the 36 yard line and he would get to the 31, slipping down and under a hit from Tate.  2nd and 2, would come more craziness.

The Giants had a number of great linebackers in the 1980s and into the 1990s.  One linebacker who looked the part but never really reached his potential was Corey Miller.  On this play, Miller made an amazing athletic play, getting off a cut block attempt, which forces the defender to get their hands down, but he played off of that, leapt in the air to snag a Rypien pass at the 34 for a pick.  Miller would collect himself and get up and run, avoiding Rypien but was hit by Ed Simmons and forced a fumble at the 40.  The ball bounced forward, where it was first missed by Mark Collins, who had a habit of whiffing on recoveries (as he did in the 1990 NFC Championship Game in San Francisco on the play when Leonard Marshall hurt Joe Montana), but Bailey was also trailing on the play, and he picked it up at the 49 yard line and got out to the 44 yard line where he was covered by Frank Middleton and actually fumbled again, but Myron Guyton was there to get it once and for all.  

So the Giants had the ball in Redskins territory and looked to be in position to really go for the hammer.  On first down, a playaction fake to Tillman and with all day to throw, drilled a pass out to Mark Jackson at the 33 yard line on a leaping catch, and was taken down by Brad Edwards.  A penalty on Washington for an illegal use of hands by Bobby Wilson was declined as Red Cashen yelled out “first down!!”.  Meggett would take a pitch running to his right this time and he took the ball out to the 27 yard line, hit down by Ted Johnson, but as he cut back, a 5 yard facemask on Gouvea tacked on additional yardage for another first down down to the 22 yard line at the 2 minute warning.  Coming off the time out, the Giants handed off the ball to Meggett up the middle for a short gain, but a hard count by Simms drew the Redskins offsides, a 3rd straight penalty on the Redskins defense.  So 1st and 5, the Giants went for the kill

I love this.  I love when you have your opponent on the ropes, go for the knockout.  In this case, the Redskins defense was completely overwhelmed, making mistakes.  And Simms would drop back, and with no Washington defender within 3 yards of him, have plenty of time to hit Cross on one of his favorite routes, a seam pass, over the linebackers and dropped perfectly to the tight end in the end zone making Simms 9 for 9 on passes.  Cross would stomp out a celebration in the end zone.  Treadwell would hit the extra point, and former Giant Carl Banks would curse in frustration on the bench as the score grew to 27-0 with 1:55 to go in the half.

Daluiso on to kickoff (again), and boomed the ball about 3 yards deep to Mitchell, who would run it out and had a tremendous return, going all the way to the Giants 35 yard line, where he was pushed out of bounds by Daluiso, with Willie Beamon in pursuit.  So finally the Redskins fans had something to be excited about and started off with an incomplete pass from Rypien towards Ricky Ervins and was nearly picked off by Jackson deep an over the middle.  2nd and 10, a shovel pass up the middle to Ervins would work as he would rumble out to the 17 yard line, hit down by Corey Raymond and Jessie Armstead.  Keeping in a hurry up, Rypien would try to hit Rickey Sanders in the corner of the end zone, but it fell incomplete.  2nd and 10, Rypien avoided Marcus Buckley on one side, and then LT coming up the middle to sling the ball to Ervins at the 14.  Ervins would break 2 tackle attempts by Armstead and Guyton and looked to be in position to make an even bigger play, but he was cut down by Collins at the 12 and the Redskins took a time out with :57 to go in the half.  On 3rd and 5, the Redskins finally cashed in

Rypien would have time to throw and drilled the ball into Tim McGee in the back of the end zone, between Perry Williams and Guyton for a touchdown by the former Bengal WR.  Lohmiller’s extra point was just good to make the score 27-7 with :53 to go in the half as “Hail to the Redskins” was blared over the loud speaker.

The Redskins kickoff would go out of the end zone, and actually through the uprights, for a touchback.  The Giants decided to call off the dogs however and take a couple of kneel downs and into the half, which is something that you can do when you get 4 possessions in the first half and all resulted in TDs.  

Coming into the 2nd half, even up by 20 points, most Giants fans are uneasy.  The Giants franchise has had an amazing knack for taking would be blowouts and turning them into unnecessary stressful nailbiters...or worse yet, losses.  I know that in a game like this, my first thought would turn to:  “all it takes is one mistake, and then its 27-14, the crowd is into the game, momentum has switched and they are only 2 scores down…”  The Giants make blowouts an anxious affair when it never should be the case.  Lohmiller came on to kickoff again went through the uprights for a touchback.  Giants began at the 20 with a handoff to Tillman, running to his left and he was hit by Johnson in the backfield for a 1 yard loss.  2nd and 11, Simms threw a quick pass out to Mike Sherrard in the flat at the 20, he would dodge about 3 Redskins until Banks came over to hit him down at the 24 yard line.  3rd and 6 with four WRs out and Meggett in the backfield, and with the crowd getting loud, forced Simms to call a timeout with 13:44 to go in the 3rd.  After regrouping with Dan Reeves, things got worse for the Giants

As I mentioned, the Giants make blowouts nervous.  In this case, Simms would drop back, the Redskins would come on a blitz and would be sacked at the 15 yard line by Johnson, and it looked like a fumble, but Red Cashen pointed to the ground and said the ground caused the fumble, so no recovery for Washington in what could have been a potentially game changing play.  Sean Landeta would come on for the first time and didn’t get off a good effort, but it took a Giants bounce at the 45 and past Brian Mitchell and rolled all the way out to the 33 for what would have been a 52 yard punt.  However, an inelligible man downfield penalty on Marcus Buckley wiped the punt out.  So Landeta now punting from his own end zone, got off a much better effort, with Mitchell fielding it at the 42 yard line, faked an end around to Darrell Green, and Mitchell only got out to the 46, hit down by Jesse Campbell.

There finally was a buzz at RFK Stadium as the crowd started to sense that the Redskins might begin to get back into the game. On first down, Rypien had a good play action fake (so good that it fooled the camera man), but with little pressure around him, Rypien threw the ball a little rushed towards an open Mitchell who was coming across the middle after beating Bailey, but the ball was high and tipped off his hands and fell incomplete.  2nd and 10, Rypien back and again with plenty of time, and rifled a pass into Rickey Sanders, who dropped the ball on what would have been an easy first down.  So now 3rd and 10, Rypien this time did get a rush, with Keith Hamilton levelling him as soon as he threw the ball, and this time McGee made a difficult catch, a diving effort at the 34 yard line, where he was touched down by Collins.  Rypien would uncork a deep shot towards the end zone and into double coverage in the direction of Sanders, but the ball was knocked away by Greg Jackson.  Meanwhile behind the play, Rypien was leveled by LT and that seemed to aggravate the knee injury which the QB was playing with.  With Rypien clearly limping up to the line now, it was 2nd and 10, and trying to set up a screen, Hamilton came barging in.  After absorbing two big hits on back to back plays, Rypien had no appetite for a 3rd, and just threw the ball into the ground, not even allowing the play to set up.  3rd and 10, Rypien in a semi-roll out to his left, was able to buy some time and fire a strike to McGee at the 18 yard line for a first down, hit down by Perry Williams.  Now the crowd was really beginning to build with anticipation, and Giants fans starting to squirm a bit.  Mitchell took the handoff running to his right and picked his way out to the 12 yard line, hit down by Bailey.  However, a holding call on Reggie McKenzie made it 1st and 20 at the 28.  Rypien would hit a sliding Mitchell at the 24 yard line.  And with Brooks and Bailey coming in to finish the play, Mitchell would pop up, and spin around their tackle attempt, get past David Tate and accelerate out to the 16 yard line, hit down by Jackson getting 12 yards back and setting up a much better 2nd and 8.  Again Washington would go to Mitchell, this time a shovel pass up the middle and Mitchell would pick his way out to the 6 yard line, hit down by Collins and Guyton.  Suddenly it’s first and goal at the 6 yard line and Rypien would again roll to his left and tried to drill a pass in to the end zone towards Art Monk, but Tate cut in front and nearly picked it off and would have raced for a TD.  On 2nd and goal, Mitchell took the ball up the gut out to the 3 yard line, however, a false start on Schlereth set them back to the 11 yard line. 

This is what makes a bad team a bad team.  They were driving and had momentum.  But following up a penalty after what should have been 3rd and goal at the 3, this time Rypien dropped back, had time to throw, but held the ball too long thanks to good coverage down the field, allowing NT Stacey Dillard and DE Mike Fox to finally barge in to sack him at the 18 yard line.  Now 3rd and goal at the 18, Rypien tried to drill the ball to McGee on a post pattern but the ball sailed over his head.  So on came Lohmiller for what should have been a chip shot 35 yarder to make the score 27-10.

Now these types of misses are tough to judge at home.  The ball sails pretty much directly over the right upright.  However, per the judgement of the official standing right under the upright, the ball did not come inside.  So all that work and time off the clock was for naught.  The score remained 27-7 with 8:53 to go in the 3rd quarter.

The Giants would start with the ball at the 20 yard line after the missed field goal, and began with a run up the middle by Tillman out to the 25 yard line, tripped up by Wilson.  2nd and 5 a near disaster for the Giants

Simms would fake the handoff to Tillman and then roll to his right.  Simms would continue to roll/scramble as Noga was starting to gain on him, and he fired a pass towards Mike Sherrard on the sidelines.  The Redskins corner, Tom Carter, dove for an apparent, interception as Simms ran up in protest (and actually made contact with the official, but they let that go).  However, as Carl Banks shoved his old teammate away, the call was overruled by another official and Simms came back into the pile of Redskins to stick it in their face a little again and ruin their celebration.  The replay was actually pretty close and could have gone either way, and might well have been a pick.  But in this case, it went the Giants’ way and Simms’ first incompletion of the day.  Now 3rd and 5, with the crowd booing, Simms dumped it over the middle to Ed McCaffrey, who caught it at the 30, and was able to just turn up field before he was blasted backwards by Edwards, but he was able to get it out to the 31 for a first down.  1st and 10, Tillman would take a draw up the gut but was cut down by Johnson after a 1 yard gain.  2nd and 9, Reeves would get a little crazy, with an end around to Mark Jackson running to his left, and following a block by William Roberts, accelerated around Monte Coleman and up the sidelines, all the way down to the Redskins’ 48 yard line, shoved out by Edwards.  With Brian Williams coming in to replace Bart Oates at center, Simms would give to Tillman running to his right, and he cut inside a nice block by Sherrard and got the ball out to the 35, hit down by Copeland.  1st and 10, Tillman got the ball again, and he was hit behind the line by Jason Buck for no gain.  2nd and 10, the ball went to Tillman on a sweep to the left, but this time Johnson barged into the backfield to hit him for a 5 yard loss. 

3rd and 15,  Simms would get swallowed up by a blitz over the middle from Noga, as Williams missed a block and forced Simms to eat it at the 48 yard line.  However...a devastating hold on AJ Johnson of the Redskins, who didn’t need to do anything because it was a literal jailbreak pass rush.  Instead of punting from near midfield and keeping the game within reach, the Redskins kept the Giants drive alive at the 35 yard line.  But the Giants came up with one of the worst trick plays seen in a while

It has been said that the best place to do a flea flicker is near midfield, perhaps even in a bit closer.  Football historians will also note that Joe Theismann’s career which came to an end on the LT sack which broke his leg on this very field, was the result of a poorly executed flea flicker, in which first Harry Carson barged in to throw off the rhythm, and then LT launched himself in to one of the most enduring images in Monday Night Football history.  In this case, Tillman didn’t do a great job of selling the flea flicker, mainly thanks to Aaron Pierce whiffing on his cut block on Andre Collins, who crashed inside, saw the play develop and came flying in on Simms.  For his part, Simms had to hurry a short pass and take a nasty hit from Collins, and the ball got out to Jackson who went down to his knees to catch the ball at the 31 yard line, get up and get annihilated by Banks at the 30.  Simms would flex his throwing arm, meanwhile the Redskins Wilson was down and hurt.   In any event, all that for 5 yards set up a 2nd and 5, the Giants went to a 5 step drop and slant pass into Jackson at the 20, who hauled it in between the zone, and fell forward to the 18, hit down by Copeland.  1st and 10,  the ball went to Meggett who ducked in behind the big offensive lineman and picked his way out to the 10, dodging about 6 tackle attempts along the way, until Buck was able to come back and clean up.  2nd and 2 at the 10, Meggett again with the carry, but Gouvea made his way into the backfield to wrap him up for a loss at the 12.  3rd and 4, Simms with plenty of time, tried to hit McCaffrey over the middle, but had the ball knocked away.  On 4th and 4, Treadwell came on for a field goal

Ugggghhhh… The Giants had a blowout.  They had the Redskins sort of come back but were too inept to make it happen.  So the Giants didn’t take the game by the throat.  In this case, what should have been a chipshot by David Treadwell, who was a perfect 9 for 9 thus far on the year, had the ball batted back in his face by Lamont Hollenquist, who was helped by a poor line drive effort from Treadwell and was recovered in a scramble back at the 34 yard line.

With the score still at 27-7, the Redskins offense tried to take some advantage, and with plenty of time to throw, Rypien dumped the ball off to Frank Middleton, and the blocking TE was left all alone at the 37 yard line and he would rumble out to the 48 yard line, dragged down by Tate and Guyton.  First down and again Rypien would go to the air, this time to an open McGee at the Giants’ 47, where he would break a tackle attempt by Collins and spin his way out to the 42, hit down by Tate just short of a first down.  With Ricky Ervins in the game, he took the handoff up the gut, bounced off a few tackle attempts and got the ball out to the 29 yard line, where he was stacked up by Guyton.  Playing in a hurry up, Rypien quickly got to the line and tried to hit McGee at the 20, but with 3 Giants coming in on him, he dropped the ball...and still took a shot from Guyton on the final play of the 3rd quarter.  On the first play of the 4th quarter, Rypien would fire a pass towards Desmond Howard, but the ball landed harmlessly to the ground.  3rd and 10, the Giants pass rush would get to Rypien, with Corey Miller coming in to nail the QB for  a loss back at the 37, and was very close to being offsides.  Rypien, nursing that bad knee came up limping and forced the Redskins to go on 4th and 18

Down by 3 scores, Washington had to go for it.  Rypien had plenty of time to throw, stood in the pocket and fired a deep out to Howard, who caught it at the 22 yard line, tried to turn up the field, but he ran out of space and he was knocked out of bounds by Williams out at the 21 yard line, about a yard and half short of a first down.  As Madden would say, that was a good throw by Rypien, Howard ran the route too short and didn’t make the play.  A cardinal sin to cut his route off short of the first down.  So the ball was given back to the Giants with 14:24 to go.

On the first play, a hard count by Simms would draw the Redskins across, with Wilson encroaching and giving the Giants a free 5 yards.  1st and 5, Tillman would take the carry up the middle, and got 3 yards, hit down by Collins.  2nd and 2, Tillman again got the ball up the middle, and was hit down by Buck and was able to surge for the first down.  1st and 10, Simms would drop back, and Gouvea came charging in up the middle on a blitz and forced Simms to fire a pass away at the sidelines and was caught by Reeves with one hand in his suit, who made a few catches in his day at Dallas, but wasn’t going to help the Giants now.  Meggett would take the next carry, again up the middle and he would bull his way out to the 34 yard line, hit by Wilson.  3rd and 6, again the Giants went with a reverse to Jackson, the same play as earlier, and on a very slow developing play, follow a great cut block by Meggett on Copeland, Jackson would run to his left, dart up the sidelines, get some good blocks by Roberts, and Jackson took the ball out to the 47 where he was finally hit down by Green and Johnson, and the Redskins DT Johnson was shaken up on the play.  After an injury timeout, Simms would try another hard count, but he got Doug Reisenberg for a false start.  1st and 15, a draw to Tillman running to his right, was hit down by Collins after a gain of 3.  With everyone expecting the Giants to keep hammering the ball, Simms had other plans

The Giants came out with 2 tight ends, most expected another run by Tillman to kill more clock.  But Simms would drop straight back, and with a Redskins blitz up the middle picked up beautifully, Simms would have plenty of time and fired a deep pass to Sherrard who got open at the 31 yard line, and with no safety help and Carter beaten badly, was able to run it the rest of the way into the end zone for a 55 yard TD.  Meanwhile, there was a delay on the field as a few fans decided to enter the action to see if they could cover the Giants any better and apparently got blasted by security.  We didn’t see this, since the long standing policy since Morganna the Kissing Bandit is not to show fans come running onto the field, but we did see Sherrard’s reaction to the hit.  Treadwell would hit this extra point to make the score 34-7 Giants 10:20 to go in the game.

Daluiso came on to kick off after a brief pause for having the ball blow off the tee, and it was not his usual booming effort through the end zone, and was fielded by Mitchell at the 3 and he took it back to the 23, where he ran into a pile.  First down for the Redskins and Rich Gannon came into the game for Washington.  His first pass went to Howard down on the right sideline where he made the catch at the 35, and was hit down by Beamon, and looked to fumble, but the ref called him down.  First down, Gannon again back, with pressure, but the former Delaware Blue Hen took off up the middle, scrambled past Dillard and slid down at the 45 before the hit from Guyton, and good for another first down.  In a hurry up, the ball went to Ervins, who picked his way out to the Giants 47 yard line, hit down by Tate.  As garbage time extended here, Gannon threw to Ervins who hauled it in at the 43 yard line, dodged a tackle from Collins and got out to the 35 where he was hit down and out of bounds by Brooks, but good for another first down.  Gannon would sling the ball to McGee, who caught it at the 30 and was shoved out by Tate at the 28.  2nd and 3, with Erik Howard coming close to a sack, Gannon flung a pass into the end zone, where McGee caught it, but it was way out of bounds when he did.  But they called a hold on Scherleth trying to block Howard and set Washington back to the 38 yard line.  2nd and 13, Gannon got a big rush from Miller and was sacked for Miller’s 2nd sack of the game, as LT was rested for the remainder of the game.  3rd and 19, with Miller coming in on him again, Gannon would scramble out to the 36, where he dove forward, again covered up by Guyton.  On 4th down, Gannon dropped back, did a pump fake, ran in a circle somewhat Three Stooges fashion, and was hit from behind by Buckley at the 33 and turned the ball back over to the Giants with 7:11 to go in the game.

Phil Simms’ had enough fun for the day and the Giants went to 2nd year QB Kent Graham in relief.  The Giants would start with a pitch to Meggett running to his right, and he would get the ball out to the 39 yard line, hit down by Coleman.  2nd and 2, a draw to Tillman up the gut, stopped by Noga and only gained 1 yard.  3rd and a long 2, Graham tried a quick 3 step drop and threw to Meggett in the flat, but the ball bounced off his hands.  So a 3 and out and on came Landeta to punt.  Landeta’s kick was a weak one, that bounced at the 30 and went out of bounds.

So Washington took over with 5:34 to go, Gannon back, threw to Monk at the 36 and hit out of bounds by Raymond.  2nd and 4, Gannon tried to set up a screen, which was read by 4 Giants and forced a floater pass towards Ervins, which fell incomplete.  On 3rd down, it was fun time for the defense

When you get to garbage time and teams are forced to throw every down, usually a few things happen.  You might get some big hits because the defense will sit back and just look to tee off on players.  You usually get sacks because the defense won’t bother playing the run.  And usually the defense will wait for a forced pass and get a pick.  In this case, Tate got the last option, as Gannon had time, tried to throw a pass over the deep middle, and the safety was waiting to snare the ball at the 45 yard line on a pass intended for Middleton.  Tate’s momentum would take him back to the 38 yard line, where he would right himself and turn up the field to the Redskins’ 45, where he would get stripped of the ball, however Armstead fell on the ball to keep possession. 

So on came Graham again, and this time he had fullback Kenyon Rasheed behind him.  Rasheed’s first carry up the gut was nullified by a delay of game on the Giants.  1st and 15, Rasheed would pick his way up the field running to his right and got out to the 46 yard line, hit down by about 5 Redskins.  2nd and 10, a quick hitter to Tillman up the middle and he spun down to the 43, hit down by Noga.  3rd and 7, Graham gave on a draw to Tillman, which fooled the camera man and Tillman got the ball out to the 28.  A 5 yard facemask to tack on took the ball out to the 23.  On first down, we really reached new garbage time lows

Now this has a personal story involved here.  Before the 1991 season, I wanted to get a new Giants jersey to wear.  I had an LT jersey.  I had a Carl Banks jersey.  Both were beat up.  I wanted to get an offensive player.  The Giants drafted a big fullback out of Michigan named Jarrod Bunch.  They already had Rodney Hampton on the roster, and with Mo Carthon aging, I thought Bunch was going to be a beast.  A monster 250 pound fullback running ahead of Hampton.  So I went to my local sports shop back in the day (O’Shea’s in River Edge, NJ...not too far from Hagler’s Restaurant up the road on Kinderkamack Road, where Bill Parcells famously always ate, and likely contributed to his heart problems), and got a Bunch jersey.  Remember, this is 1991.  There was no internet.  And most jerseys were custom made and cost over $100.  But I wanted a Bunch jersey and a Bunch jersey I got.  Bunch did nothing his rookie year, looked to have a good year in 1992, but come 1993, it was clear that Dan Reeves wasn’t a big fan of his.  The Giants signed a rookie free agent out of Oklahoma, Kenyon Rasheed, who had a good career running the ball.  Rasheed had a strong pre-season and pushed Bunch on the roster.  As a joke, and somewhat an acknowledgement that buying a Bunch jersey was a mistake, I took a cheap Haynes tee shirt, drew a #44 in blue on it and wrote “Rasheed” on the back and wore that to a pre-season game.  So Kenyon Rasheed became kind of an inside joke among my fellow Giants fans (and Jets fans) friends.  Lo and behold, Rasheed took the carry here, ran through a hole up the middle, cut behind a block by McCaffrey on Edwards, went around 2 weak tackle attempts, including a putrid one by Hall of Famer Darrell Green, and 23 yards later Rasheed hit paydirt.  I lost my mind when this happened because what was a joke suddenly looked like I was a genius for my Rasheed “jersey”.  Treadwell put the extra point through in front of whatever fans remained, meanwhile Madden was in his own garbage time mode, talking about his conversations with a random New Yorker named Dean Taylor who was a huge Simms fanboy.  The score was now 41-7 with 3:25 to go in the game.

Daluiso came back to kickoff for a 7th time, and again the ball blew off the tee, and as Madden would say he kicks it farther than anyone, Daluiso boomed the ball off the back wall outside the end zone.  The Redskins started at the 20, Gannon back, with pressure from Howard, dumped the ball off to Ervins, who was hit by Armstead immediately and was taken down at the 23.  2nd and 7, the Giants put the final stamp on the game.

As I noted earlier, in a blowout, it’s stat padding time for defenses.  Tate got the pick before.  This time it was a from a failed former 2nd round pick of the Eagles, Jesse Campbell, who made a diving INT at the 36 yard line, and he would get up and rumble out to the 22 yard line, though it looked it he might have been down.  The refs woke up long enough to realize that Campbell was actually touched down by Howard, who actually tripped on him as he dove for the ball, and they brought the ball back to the 36.

On first down, Rasheed again got the ball and he rumbled out to the 30, where he was upended by Copeland.  Graham again gave to Rasheed who was stacked up behind the line for a 1 yard loss, at the 2 minute warning.  3rd and 6, Tillman on the draw to his right, got out to the 25, hit down by Edwards, but good for a first down which put Tillman over 100 yards.  At this point, it was now victory formation the rest of the way as the Giants completed a beat down of the Richie Pettibone Redskins at RFK as the crowd of remaining Giants fans had a ball dancing on the Washington grave.
Post mortem/ Interesting Tidbits
  • Fullback Kenyon Rasheed's first and only NFL TD in his 3 year career.
  • Howard Cross caught 2 TDs in the game.  It was the first time in his career that he caught multiple TDs in the same game.  He would only do it one other time in his career, the next season at Arizona in a 20-17 win in Buddy Ryan's home opener as the Cardinals head coach.
  • Mike Sherrard also caught multiple TDs in the game.  Similar to Cross, this was also the first time in his career to do the trick.  And, also similar to Cross, he would only do it one other time, also in 1994, in a 27-22 loss at the New Orleans Saints.
  • Dave Meggett's halfback option TD pass to Sherrard was the first of his career.  Meggett would also throw another TD pass in 1993, this time a 21 yarder to Chris Calloway.   
  • Seemingly enjoying torturing the Redskins, Meggett thew his 3rd TD pass as a member of the Giants against Washington in 1994, time time a 16 yard TD to TE Aaron Pierce in the Giants' 31-23 win to put them at 3-0.  
  • Meggett would throw one more TD in his career, this time in 1997 as a member of the Patriots, throwing a 35 yard TD to Troy Brown in New England's 27-24 win at Foxoboro against the Dolphins.
  • Meggett should have had his first TD pass in the 1990 playoffs.  In the NFC Championship game at San Francisco, Meggett appeared to run a sweep, but pulled up and threw the ball to a wide open Maurice Carthon in the end zone.  Carthon, who had beaten Matt Millen in coverage, had Millen dive for the ball, to help knock it away, but in reality he lost the pass in the sun and dropped it.
  • Lewis Tillman, filling in for an injured Rodney Hampton, had 29 carries in the game.  A career high as a member of the Giants. His NFL career high was 32 carries, done twice as a member of the Bears in 1994, when he rushed for 96 yards in a win at the Jets and then 126 yards in a win at Soldier Field against the Lions.
  • Tillman's 104 rushing yards were the 2nd most in his Giants career, behind his 169 yard effort against the Eagles one week later.  
  • Corey Miller registered 2 sacks for the first time in his career.  He would match this one week later vs. the Eagles.  He would only register 2 sacks in a game one more time in his career, in the Giants opening loss to the Buffalo Bills in OT in 1996.
  • Biggest Giants blowout of a Redskins team since 1961
  • Art Monks’ catch on the first play of the game was the 153rd consecutive game with a reception