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Turner Earns a Reprieve with Victory

September 25, 2000|From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Brad Johnson and Norv Turner can stop looking over their shoulders, at least for another week.

Johnson, under fire with owner Daniel Snyder's $100-million team off to a slow start, passed for 289 yards and two touchdowns as the Washington Redskins finally showed some Super Bowl form and might have saved Turner's job in the process by beating the New York Giants, 16-6, Sunday night.

"We felt like we had to come up here and find a way to win, and we did," said Johnson, who completed 14 of 20 passes, including bombs of 53, 48 and 46 yards.

Johnson's touchdown passes covered 23 yards to Irving Fryar in the second quarter and 21 to Andre Reed early in the third. His 48-yard strike to Albert Connell, who had four catches for 122 yards, set up a 25-yard field goal by Michael Husted.

The Redskins (2-2) viewed it as a must-win game if they had any realistic hope of catching the Giants (3-1) and winning the NFC East again.

"They put the schedule together and they give you 16 games, and you're going to play 16," Turner said. "We let a couple slip away. We got one tonight. You can regroup and get ready for the next one. If you win enough when the thing is done, then you keep playing. If you don't, then you go home."

With an antsy owner like Snyder, Turner may not have had the chance to play 16 unless the Redskins started winning.

However, Washington played like a desperate team. Not only did Johnson silence critics calling for free agent Jeff George to take over at quarterback, but the Redskin defense shut down Kerry Collins and a Giant offense that looked potent in its first three games.

"They just flat out outplayed us," said Collins, who was sacked four times for 42 yards. "They were quicker, had more tempo and executed better. I think we got lulled into thinking it was pretty easy, and if there is a lesson here, it's that it isn't easy.

"We simply didn't play like a championship team," Collins added. "Washington is one of the best teams in the league and they kicked our butts."

Collins completed 21 of 44 passes for 210 yards. He also saw Deion Sanders end a drive early in the fourth quarter with an interception in the end zone.

The Giants did not score until Ike Hilliard caught a seven-yard touchdown pass in the closing minutes.

Not only did Washington limit Collins, but there wasn't much thunder and lightning out of the Giant backfield, either.

Tiki Barber, leading the NFL in rushing with 326 yards, gained 65 yards in 16 carries. Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne had 23 yards in five carries.

The key for the Redskins was winning the battle up front against the Giants' revamped offensive line.

Johnson needed two series to warm up, but once he got going the Redskins started gaining chunks of yardage against a defense that hadn't given up a play longer than 31 yards in its first three games.

Faced with a third-and-two at the Washington 31 early in the second quarter, Johnson got Giant cornerback Dave Thomas to go for a pump fake, and James Thrash made a diving catch on a 46-yard pass. On the next play, Johnson caught safety Sam Garnes guessing on another pump fake and found a wide-open Fryar in the end zone for a 7-0 lead, capping a seven-play, 92-yard drive.

A 13-yard sack by Marco Coleman forced the Giants to punt on the next series and the Redskins came right back with the long pass to Connell, setting up Husted's field goal.

Washington pretty much secured the final result with a four-play, 81-yard drive in the third quarter.

Johnson passed to Connell for a 53-yard play and followed that with the touchdown pass to Reed.

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