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THE 1996 NFL

Redskins Keep Jets Winless

Interconference: Washington wins, 31-16, and is helped by controversial call against rookie Johnson.

September 30, 1996|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Washington Redskins needed all the razzle-dazzle they could muster, plus a controversial call, to put away the supposedly hapless New York Jets.

Leslie Shepherd scored on a reverse and a flea-flicker and Gus Frerotte had his best game of the season Sunday night as the Redskins won, 31-16. It was their fourth consecutive victory and the Jets' ninth consecutive loss.

But the game could most be remembered for an offensive interference call on Jet rookie Keyshawn Johnson in the end zone that turned into an interception by Tom Carter.

With 8:01 remaining and the Jets (0-5) trailing, 24-16, Johnson appeared to make only token contact with cornerback Carter before catching the ball and landing both feet on the ground. Carter stripped the ball and was awarded an interception after an extended conference among several officials.

The Jets erupted in protests when the call was made, holding the game up for several more minutes as Coach Rich Kotite came onto the field for an argument.

"It was a touchdown," Johnson said. "I caught the ball, I got my one leg down, I got my second leg down, and the ball slipped off my right leg as I was coming down. The ref blew it. . . . That situation turned the whole game around."

It was the first drive on which the Jets failed to score since the first quarter, and their only turnover of the game. Up to then, New York's offense had put together four consecutive scoring drives, three of them ending in field goals by Nick Lowery instead of touchdowns.

Adrian Murrell of the Jets had 99 yards rushing by halftime and finished with 118 yards in 31 carries. Neil O'Donnell completed 27 of 40 passes for 292 yards.

But the Redskin offense also had a field day. Frerotte completed 15 of 22 passes for 257 yards, including the 52-yard flea-flicker to Shepherd that put the Redskins (4-1) ahead, 24-16, on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Terry Allen rushed for 101 yards in 20 carries and two touchdowns.

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