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It All Works Out at End for Giants

September 22, 2003|From Associated Press

LANDOVER, Md. — If the New York Giants had blown this one, they might never have recovered.

There was no way they could afford a rerun of Monday night's heartbreaking loss to Dallas, yet that's exactly where they were headed after losing an 18-point second-half lead Sunday to the Washington Redskins.

Instead, there were stories of redemption for Jim Fassel, Jeremy Shockey, Matt Bryant -- everyone in a blue uniform, for that matter -- in a 24-21 overtime victory that tied the Giants with the Redskins for first place in the NFC East.

"If we would've lost this game, my wife better keep her hand on 9-1-1," defensive end Michael Strahan said. "Because I don't know what I was going to do with myself.... It was hard to get over last week. The last thing we wanted to do was lose another game like that."

Matt Bryant kicked a 29-yard field goal 4:15 into the extra period, atoning for a squib kickoff that went out of bounds and gave Dallas a chance in the 35-32 overtime loss six days earlier. Shockey made a 14-yard catch in overtime, helping everyone forget his two big drops against the Cowboys.

Fassel, questioned for his tactics late in the game against the Cowboys, practically ordered his offense to win on the first overtime possession -- which is exactly what it did.

"I told the offense we're going after it," said Fassel, whose team would have fallen two games off the division lead with a loss. "We're not playing 'whatever.' Take the ball and go down there."

The Giants (2-1) led, 21-3, at halftime, but a mistake-filled second half and questionable clock management late in regulation allowed the Redskins to tie it on John Hall's 34-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in regulation.

But Washington (2-1) had no business being in the game after committing a franchise-tying 17 penalties for 142 yards, including nine in the first half. They rallied only because the Giants started returning the favor, committing 11 of their 15 penalties after halftime.

Coach Steve Spurrier said the penalties were indicative of "pure bad discipline."

"I guess we've got to fine guys that do things like that," Spurrier said. "I guess we ought to fine them pretty hard.... I didn't think it was that hard to play within the rules, but we're having a hard time doing it."

Kerry Collins threw three touchdown passes, completing 24 of 39 passes for 276 yards for the Giants. Tiki Barber ran for 126 yards, Ike Hilliard caught two touchdown passes, and Shockey had six catches for 92 yards.

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