- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2002

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. New York Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey didn't score a touchdown, but he still played a huge role in pushing the Washington Redskins another step toward oblivion.
The Redskins' ninth-ranked defense shut down Giants running backs Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne and kept quarterback Kerry Collins mostly in check in New York's 19-17 victory in cold and rainy Giants Stadium. They had no answer for the 6-foot-5, 252-pound Shockey.
The rookie caught 11 passes tied for the third-most in franchise history for 111 yards, the most by a Giants tight end since Pro Bowl pick Mark Bavaro in 1988.
Shockey caught 27 passes for 321 yards in the Giants' first nine games, in spite of an often-injured toe. But the toe didn't bother him as much as he bothered the Redskins yesterday in a game that all but ended Washington's chances of making the playoffs.
"Shockey had a great game," said Pro Bowl linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, one of several Redskins who failed to slow the first-round draft pick. "Obviously he was a big part of their offense this week [with receivers Ike Hilliard, Ron Dixon and Tim Carter all hurt]. If he continues to play like that, he'll be a bigger part every week."
Giants coach/play-caller Jim Fassel wasted no time getting Shockey involved yesterday.
Four of the Giants' first nine plays were passes to the rookie. Shockey beat Pro Bowl linebackers Trotter, LaVar Arrington and Jessie Armstead for 14, 10 and 7 yards respectively and rookie safety Andre Lott for another 10 as the Giants drove 54 yards. Matt Bryant then kicked a 43-yard field goal that made it 3-0.
Shockey later bulled through the Redskins defense for a 15-yard gain. That play set up Kerry Collins' 35-yard touchdown pass to wideout Amani Toomer, which tied the score 10-10 with 1:54 left in the first half.
Shockey, who has run 40 yards in 4.64 seconds, was too quick for the Redskins' linebackers to cover and too big for their safeties to handle.
"Jeremy really created some matchup problems with their linebackers," said Collins, who gained half his completions and more than half his yards on throws to Shockey. "He has that rare combination of speed and good feet. He was able to break free from them and after a while, they were all over him, holding him and mugging him.
"Jeremy talked about wanting to be more involved in the offense. Well, we called his name a lot tonight because we knew we could get some good matchups and he came through for us."
The lone setback of the day for Shockey came early in the third quarter. Shockey lost a fumble when Bruce Smith punched the ball out from behind as he fought for a first down at the New York 44.
Shockey, who brawled with teammate Brandon Short during the first team dinner of training camp and who exhorted the crowd when his helmet came off after his sixth catch of the first half, doesn't seem to be the humble type. But Shockey didn't talk himself up after his breakout performance.
"It was just something that kind of happened," Shockey said. "I guess Kerry felt comfortable delivering it to me and the timing was good. I was fortunate enough to get the break today."
Fellow Miami alumnus Armstead doesn't buy that explanation.
"Shockey's a go-to guy," Armstead said. "Although he's a rookie, he's an advanced rookie. There are going to be a lot of teams that will have to deal with Shockey. This is going to be the first experience.
"If we start naming tight ends, you have to put him in the top five in the whole league right now. He can make plays and he's a tough character. You get a player out of the University of Miami, you're getting an athlete."


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