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Wheatley Steps In, Steps It Up

September 29, 1997|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — When teams are struggling as much as the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints, the difference between winning and losing can be a backup player stepping up for an injured teammate.

Dave Brown capitalized on a blown coverage by the Saints to throw one of his two touchdown passes, and seldom-used Tyrone Wheatley replaced injured starter Tiki Barber and ran out the clock, allowing the Giants (2-3) to end a losing streak at three games with a 14-9 victory Sunday.

"We needed to win this one very badly, especially after last week," Giant coach Jim Fassel said. "I can't say we got it all together, but we really needed this one and we got it."

Brown, who was 16 for 25 passing for 194 yards, threw first-half touchdown passes of 32 yards to Kevin Alexander and 14 to Chris Calloway. The Giants limited the Saints (1-4) to three field goals by Doug Brien.

This was a game that either team could have won. The Saints failed to capitalize late after recovering a fumble at the Giant 35, and then they could not come up with a key stop after backing up New York at its three with 3:38 to go.

But Wheatley, who entered the game after Barber sprained his right knee late in the third quarter, ripped off runs 15, 13 and nine yards to help the Giants run out the clock.

"That's the type of running back I have been waiting to see," Fassel said of the 1995 first-round draft choice who has been a bust for the most part.

Wheatley finished with 60 yards in 11 carries. He had 49 yards in 19 carries the first four games.

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