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Pro Football Week 4 | NEW YORK GIANTS 34, SAN DIEGO

Leaf Developing Into a Master of Disaster

September 28, 1998|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — One week after a disastrous performance in the Kansas City rain, rookie quarterback Ryan Leaf flopped again under the San Diego sun.

The New York Giants beat the San Diego Chargers, 34-16, on Sunday as Leaf threw four interceptions in less than three quarters. He was benched after the final one, which was returned 20 yards by Percy Ellsworth for a touchdown.

The Giants (2-2), coming off a loss to Dallas on Monday night, had to travel cross-country on a short week. They played like the opportunistic Giants of 1997 in ending a two-game losing streak and winning on the West Coast for the first time since beating San Francisco in the NFC championship game on Jan. 20, 1991.

Leaf, the second pick in the draft, was booed at home for the first time as the Chargers (2-2) lost their second in a row. What was left of the crowd even booed when a Make-A-Wish Foundation public service announcement that included Leaf was shown late in the game.

He was intercepted three times in the Chargers' first five possessions, setting up two New York touchdowns. Leaf has committed 11 of the Chargers' 12 turnovers in four games and has thrown only one touchdown pass.

"I just worked so hard for it and it's just not there," Leaf said. "You just wonder, 'Are you good enough to do this?' Right now I don't know if I am. I've won all my life."

"Everybody else on that field played so well, worked so hard all week, only to have this rookie quarterback come in and lose it all. The Chargers should be a lot better right now, if it weren't for me."

Leaf, 15 for 34 for 193 yards, was coming off the most futile day by a Chargers' quarterback, one for 15 for four yards and five turnovers at Kansas City.

Craig Whelihan replaced Leaf and threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Jones on his fourth play, San Diego's first touchdown pass since its opener. The Chargers have only four touchdowns overall.

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