- The Washington Times - Monday, October 29, 2001

This one didn't come in overtime against a lousy team after a stunning fourth-quarter rally. No, this was a real play-from-ahead victory, over a real team the defending NFC champions with a real-life offense using a variety of weapons to generate real (big) plays.
The Washington Redskins gave Marty Schottenheimer his first convincing victory as their coach yesterday, thumping the New York Giants 35-21 before 80,316 at FedEx Field. The last-ranked offense exploded for 270 second-half yards against the NFL's No. 11 defense to validate the prior week's game-ending outburst against the lowly Carolina Panthers.
After starting the season with five losses, the Redskins (2-5) are just 11/2 games out of first place in the NFC East. They carry a two-game winning streak into next week's game against the 3-3 Seattle Seahawks. That contest is followed by an open date.
"There's not been a whole lot normal about what's transpired through the first seven weeks," said Schottenheimer, whose job status was under fire two weeks ago. "But what we've got to do, and I told the players, is tonight at midnight [this win] is gone. It's over. It's on another planet. We've got to get ready for Seattle."
Said defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson: "We still have a golden opportunity in our division with 3-3 [by the Philadelphia Eagles] being the best. If we can keep this thing going, keep this momentum going, we'll be in the hunt at the end."
The Redskins' offense overcame a first half in which it posted just 83 yards and three first downs. The rebound came a week after the unit rallied for 443 yards against the Panthers. With yesterday's 353 yards, Washington's offense has improved its per-game average to 245.6, a 61-yard increase in the past two games.
Quarterback Tony Banks enjoyed another solid day, hitting 11 of 19 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Stephen Davis carried 29 times for 107 yards, registering a pair of season-highs and his first 100-yard day of the year. And embattled wide receiver Michael Westbrook caught a 76-yard touchdown pass that put the game away.
"Anytime you have success, it adds confidence," Banks said. "It's two weeks in a row, and we beat a good Giant team today, so I imagine the [offenses] confidence is going to be going even higher next week."
The offensive success allowed the Redskins to pull away in the fourth quarter after the Giants (3-4) cut the deficit to 27-21. New York dropped behind early 14-0, rallied to tie late in the second half but never led.
Also making big impacts for the Redskins were no turnovers, a trick-play touchdown pass from wide receiver Kevin Lockett, an 89-yard punt return touchdown from new signee Eric Metcalf and their 30th-ranked run defense holding Giants rushers Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne to a combined 33 yards on 15 carries.
"I knew all along we were going to turn it around," offensive tackle Chris Samuels said. "I was just hoping that we wouldn't turn it around when it was too late."
The Redskins took a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Banks to wideout Rod Gardner. Gardner's third score of his rookie season followed a fumble by Giants receiver Amani Toomer on New York's second play. Defensive lineman Kenard Lang recovered the fumble at the Giants' 17 and Washington needed three plays to score.
The lead increased to 14-0 when Metcalf returned his first punt as a Redskin 89 yards for a touchdown. Signed only Wednesday and not having played in the NFL the past 11/2 seasons, Metcalf skipped away from several Giants, raced up the right sideline and got nice downfield blocks from Zeron Flemister and Michael Bates.
New York shook up a plodding offensive performance by both teams midway through the second quarter by driving 65 yards for a touchdown. Toomer scored with 6:39 left in the half on a floater to the right corner of the end zone, beating cornerback Champ Bailey and cutting Washington's lead to 14-7.
The Giants then tied the game 31/2 minutes later on a 27-yard pass from Kerry Collins to Ike Hilliard. Bailey was beaten for that catch, too, and linebacker LaVar Arrington missed a tackle that could have kept Hilliard out of the end zone.
The score was set up when wide receiver Derrius Thompson was called for holding on the kickoff that followed the Giants' first touchdown. Bates returned the kickoff to about midfield but Thompson's penalty pinned Washington at its own 9. The Redskins went three-and-out and Bryan Barker's punt went only to the 39.
But Washington rallied for a field goal as the first half ended. Backup running back Ki-Jana Carter picked up 30 yards on a run up the middle and Brett Conway made a 43-yard attempt four plays later as time expired.
Washington's offense, after the poor first half, quickly drove for a touchdown to start the second. Thompson caught the trick-play scoring pass from Lockett, who received what appeared to be a screen pass before lofting it 31 yards to his wide-open teammate.
The Redskins' next drive ended in a field goal that increased their lead to 27-14. The possession went 63 yards in 13 plays and stalled at the Giants' 2. Conway kicked a 20-yard attempt with 3:23 left in the third quarter.
The Giants responded with 12-play, 72-yard drive that ended in a 1-yard scoring pass to fullback Greg Comella. The Redskins' lead was 27-21 with just under 14 minutes to play.
But Westbrook came through with his 76-yard touchdown with 6:41 remaining. The play came on third-and-19, and Westbrook caught cornerback Jason Sehorn with a stutter-step at the first-down marker. Sehorn, who had two key interceptions in the Giants' Oct. 7 win over Washington, was beaten by five steps on the route. A two-point conversion to fullback Donnell Bennett provided the final points.

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