- The Washington Times - Monday, October 8, 2001

GIANTS 23, REDSKINS 9

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. The Washington Redskins finally journeyed into a competitive fourth quarter yesterday only to find their offensive ineptitude, back from a one-week hiatus, too pronounced to generate their first win.
The Redskins' offense produced just 181 yards including 131 before a final, meaningless drive committed four of the team's five turnovers and faltered in three key possessions while the contest remained in doubt. Washington was left with a 23-9 loss to the New York Giants before 78,651 at Giants Stadium.
The offensive woes came a week after the unit finally showed spark in a 45-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. But the defense surrendered 546 yards that day. Yesterday the defense overcame injuries, including a dislocated shoulder to defensive end Bruce Smith on his first play, to help stifle an erratic effort by the defending NFC champions. But the Redskins still dropped to 0-4 in coach Marty Schottenheimer's first season.
"We have to play well in concert on offense, defense and in the kicking game," Schottenheimer said. "We have to do it every week. We've been up and down, up and down, throughout this season, in every phase. It is hard to grow [when that happens]."
Smith is expected to miss two to three weeks while recovering, and cornerback Champ Bailey could miss the Oct. 15 game at Dallas because of a sprained ankle. Their injuries further affect a defense that was without end Marco Coleman (elbow) and linebacker Shawn Barber (knee) and had linebacker LaVar Arrington play with a sprained MCL.
The two-touchdown loss to the Giants (3-1) easily was Washington's smallest margin of defeat, but the team remains on course to set NFL records. The projected total of 540 points allowed would surpass the 1981 Indianapolis Colts' record high of 533, and the projected total of 100 points scored would fall well beneath the 1992 Seattle Seahawks' record low of 140 in a 16-game season.
Still, the Redskins showed progress yesterday.Though most Redskins did not consider it a moral victory, many were pleased that they finally played with emotion for an entire game.
"We're always disappointed when we lose," offensive tackle Chris Samuels said. "We haven't got a victory yet, so that's disappointing. But the one thing I can say: We got after them today. They thought they were going to walk out there and push us over, but we got after them for four quarters."
Playing a part in the emotional resurrection, some players said, was Monday's clear-the-air meeting. Mostly, though, the team has grown sick of losing.
"In some aspects [the meeting] did have some benefit," defensive end Kenard Lang said. "But it's just terrible, just bad when you lose."
New York went up 16-9 on a 1-yard pass from Kerry Collins to tight end Dave Campbell with 12:59 left. The Redskins then had three possessions with a chance to tie, but two ended in interceptions by quarterback Tony Banks and the other went three and out.
Banks finished 13-for-31 for 151 yards in his second start, with a microscopic 30.4 rating. The offense was hampered by fumbles, dropped passes and penalties, but Banks ackknowledged that he just needs to play better.
"This team got me in place to make plays," Banks said. "I didn't make any today. I let my teammates down today."
The Giants led 9-6 at halftime despite four penetrations inside the Redskins' 10. In the half New York was hampered by three fumbles, including two turnovers, while the Redskins reciprocated with five fumbles, including three turnovers, before intermission.
The Redskins made their best drive midway through the third quarter. It went 40 yards and ended with a 41-yard field goal by Brett Conway, who finished 3-for-3, including a 55-yarder in the second quarter.
New York responded with a 71-yard touchdown drive, which got its key gains right before and right after the third quarter ended. The former was a 20-yard screen pass to fullback Greg Comella; the latter a 22-yard run by reserve running back Damon Washington.
Washington, in particular, was a key for the Giants, gaining 90 rushing yards on 25 carries. The Giants usually feature a "Thunder and Lightning" backfield, but "Lightning" Tiki Barber was out with a strained hamstring and "Thunder" Ron Dayne sprained his neck in the first half.
Following the touchdown Washington's first drive ended in an interception to cornerback Jason Sehorn in the end zone. Banks was throwing to a spot on the field, wide receiver Kevin Lockett slipped and Sehorn made a nice play.
The Giants ran more than 61/2 minutes off the clock on their next possession but Redskins rookie safety Ifeanyi Ohalete intercepted Collins with 4:49 to play. Washington followed with a three-and-out as tight ends Walter Rasby and Stephen Alexander dropped passes on first and third downs, respectively.
The Redskins' defense forced New York three-and-out and gave the offense the ball with 3:07 left. But Banks' first pass was thrown a bit behind Lockett, and it ended up in Sehorn's hands after the corner batted it slightly into the air. Sehorn ran the interception back for a 34-yard, game-sealing score.

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