- The Washington Times - Monday, December 6, 2004

Randy Thomas was not supposed to play yesterday. The New York Giants regret that he did.

The Washington Redskins’ right guard went down with a strained right hamstring against the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago, and he was supposed to miss two to four weeks.

But Thomas not only returned to practice Wednesday, he started yesterday and played the entire game as the Redskins pounded the visiting New York Giants 31-7.

“I just wanted to get on the field,” said Thomas, who didn’t accompany the team to Pittsburgh for last week’s loss to the Steelers. “It’s hard to sit at home, thinking about wanting to play. I just got my mind off my hamstring. If you think about an injury, it’s going to stay with you. It’s still tight, but it doesn’t feel any worse.”

It was the Giants who felt worse after being trampled by Thomas and Co. for 27 first downs and 211 rushing yards during 40:29 of Redskins possession.

“You’re not going to win if you don’t do something about stopping the run,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “They slashed us.”

Thomas, who has missed just four games during his six seasons with the New York Jets and Washington, wasn’t too impressed by his own gutsy performance. He just has a high tolerance for pain, he said.

Others in the Redskins’ locker room were more impressed.

“There are so many guys that could say they don’t want to come back this season, but guys like Randy Thomas come back and play,” coach Joe Gibbs said.

Said running back Clinton Portis: “For Randy to not miss practice, it gives you a lift. Week in and week out, you need a lift from something. Randy was our lift this week.”

Daniels out for year

Defensive end Phillip Daniels’ latest comeback was short-lived. He departed in the second quarter with a dislocated bone in his left wrist and will miss the remainder of the season.

Daniels had missed the previous three games and seven of the past nine with muscle pulls in his groin and abdomen. The ostensible starting right end will see a specialist today for his wrist injury, but the club was confident his season is over.

“Every time I come back, it’s something else,” Daniels said. “I can’t explain this season. It’s been hard. But I’ve got to keep my head up and realize I’ve got to come back strong next year and help this team out.”

Among other injuries, nose tackle Joe Salave’a suffered a mild knee sprain, cornerback Fred Smoot injured a wrist and tight end Robert Royal sprained a knee. All three returned to play.

Barber squashed again

The Redskins continued to play some of the NFL’s best run defense, shutting down Giants running back Tiki Barber for the second time this season.

Heading into yesterday’s game, Barber ranked second in the NFC with 1,145 rushing yards. His only bad game was the Sept.19 meeting with the Redskins, when he rushed 18 times for 42 yards. Yesterday he was no better, picking up just 38 yards on 15 carries.

No team in the NFL yields fewer yards per carry than Washington (3.1). Linebacker Antonio Pierce said stopping the run has become almost second nature under assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams.

“The reputation of the Redskins in the past was that they couldn’t stop the run,” Pierce said. “Gregg Williams came in and really emphasized stopping the run. We worked on it all offseason. Once you get into the game, it just becomes routine. Everybody knows where they fit. It’s like clockwork. Every gap is accounted for.

“When a guy gets 4 yards, you should see guys. They’re really disappointed. We think that every time they run the ball, it should be 2 yards or less.”

Redskins visit Bauman

Owner Dan Snyder allowed three Redskins players — linebacker Antonio Pierce, tight end Robert Royal and safety Ryan Clark — to use his private plane to fly to Oregon on Wednesday to visit former teammate Rashad Bauman, whose 5-month-old baby had died.

Bauman was drafted by Washington in the third round in 2002 and spent much of his two seasons as the nickel back. He was cut at the end of last summer’s training camp and was picked up shortly afterward by Cincinnati, where he’s now on injured reserve.

Coach Joe Gibbs mentioned Snyder’s gesture in the post-game press conference as another sign of the sense of community that is emerging in this difficult season.

“I’ve got to tell you, there’s not many people who would do something like that,” Gibbs said. “I’m really proud of our organization. I know we’ve been through a lot. It’s been tough. But maybe that’s what you have to go through. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves.”

Taylor still personal

Safety Sean Taylor committed his third personal foul in as many games, getting flagged for a late hit on Giants quarterback Eli Manning in the fourth quarter.

In previous weeks the rookie got hit with fouls for cheap shots after the whistle and away from the play.

Coach Joe Gibbs didn’t blame Taylor for the latest foul, saying it was simply a byproduct of trying to get a sack.

“That was a great effort for him there,” Gibbs said. “You get some of those. You don’t want them. But he certainly makes a lot of great plays. That guy can cover the field.”

Special teams star

Walt Harris sure knows how to make an impact on special teams.

For the second time in five weeks, the Redskins cornerback was front-and-center on a blocked punt. On Nov.7 at Detroit, Harris recovered Taylor Jacobs’ blocked kick and returned it for a touchdown. Yesterday, he decided take care of business all by himself.

Harris burst through the line late in the second quarter to block Jeff Feagles’ punt. The Redskins’ special teams unit didn’t return this block for a touchdown, but the offense did find the end zone five plays later.

Harris, who has had an up-and-down season as Washington’s third cornerback, is just pleased to be making a name for himself on special teams.

“I’m so happy to be there,” he said. “I’ve always said I could block kicks, and [special teams coach] Danny Smith has just put me in the best position to try to block them.”

Inactives

The Redskins’ inactives were cornerback Garnell Wilds, linebacker LaVar Arrington, offensive lineman Mark Wilson, offensive lineman Jim Molinaro, wide receiver Antonio Brown, defensive lineman Demetric Evans and defensive tackle Jermaine Haley. Tim Hasselbeck was the third quarterback.

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