- The Washington Times - Monday, October 29, 2001

Neither Bruce Smith nor Marco Coleman had a great game yesterday, but the return of Washington's Pro Bowl ends was a big boost for the Redskins defense. Coleman missed 41/2 games with a dislocated elbow suffered in a Week 2 loss at Green Bay and Smith separated his shoulder on the first play of a Week 4 loss to the New York Giants.
In the absence of Smith and Coleman, the Redskins had used starting tackle Kenard Lang, August signee Dorian Boose and waiver wire pickups Tyrone Williams and Otis Leverette at the ends. So there was a definite upgrade with Coleman and Smith back for the rematch with the defending NFC champion Giants, won by the underdog Redskins 35-21 at FedEx Field.
"It was like night and day having Marco and Bruce back in there, having our starting front four back together," said Lang, who moved back to his usual right tackle spot alongside Smith, who is second in NFL history in sacks. "The old men [Smiths 38, Coleman 31] did fine. They took their Geritol pills this morning for energy and gingko pills for the memory."
The fourth member of the quintet, left tackle Dan Wilkinson, was equally pleased that an intact front four was no longer just a memory.
"It was wonderful having Marco and Bruce back," said Wilkinson, who lines up next to Coleman. "You know they're going to make huge plays. They're going to be a huge inspiration. The opponent has to account for them. And seeing Bruce and Marco in front of them gives our younger guys [such as linebacker Antonio Pierce and safety David Terrell] a little better sense of security."
Coleman didn't make any plays of consequence, but Smith swooped in to tackle Giants quarterback Kerry Collins for a 17-yard loss on a botched flea flicker at the Washington 43 in the second quarter. And Smith beat veteran offensive tackle Lomas Brown to strip Collins of the ball at the Washington 37 in the third quarter. The Giants recovered the fumble, but their series ended one play later without any points. The sack gave Smith 11/2 this year and 1821/2 in his career, 151/2 shy of the retired Reggie White's NFL record.
"I was able to get some pretty good pressure today," said Smith, who had missed just four games the previous nine years. "Marco [who had sat out just one game in his nine seasons before this one] and I knew that it would make a difference having us back. The coaches knew that. The Giants knew that."
New York, which played the first game against Washington without shifty runner Tiki "Lightning" Barber and lost burly back Ron "Thunder" Dayne during the first half of that 23-9 victory, was at full strength yesterday, but spent most of the game playing from behind. The Redskins' quick 14-0 lead and the 24-14 advantage just 1:52 into the second half allowed the Washington defense to focus on rushing Collins, who threw 52 passes.
"We were able to tee off on them," Smith said with a smile.
With the unknown Damon Washington handling the bulk of the work, New York had run for 142 yards on 46 carries the last time. Yesterday, Barber and Dayne combined for just 33 yards on 15 carries nine yards on three attempts after halftime.
"Getting ahead the way we did took the Giants away from their strength, Barber and Dayne, and made them more one-dimensional which was a big advantage for us," Coleman said. "I did OK, but give all the credit to the offense and special teams."
Certainly, but the fact remains that the Redskins are 1-1 when Smith and Coleman have played the whole game, 1-4 when they haven't. And that's no coincidence.

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