Thursday, December 30, 2010 3:15 PM
By Rich Tandler
The New York Giants have been making annual trips to Washington every year since the Redskins very first game in D. C. in 1937. They played at least twice a year every year since 1937 except in 1967 and 1969. In those seasons the NFL was experimenting with different divisional alignments just prior to the merger with the AFL and the Giants and Redskins were put in different divisions. Here is a look at some of the landmark games in the Giants series of visits to the Nations Capital: The first time: Redskins 13, Giants 3, Sept. 16, 1937, Griffith Stadium Riley Smith scored all of the Redskins points as the team made its debut in Washington in front of a crowd of 24,492. The game also featured the pro debut of Sammy Baugh and his running and passing set up a first-quarter Smith field goal. New York tied it up at 3-3 in the third quarter. In the fourth period, Smith put the Redskins back into the lead with another field goal and then clinched the win by picking off a pass and streaking 60-yards down the sidelines for the touchdown. The last time: Giants 45, Redskins 12, December 12, 2009, FedEx Field The Giants led 24-0 after the first half and 38-0 after three quarters of play in this game. The non-contest would have been totally forgettable but for an embarrassment for the ages at the end of the first half. On fourth down, Jim Zorn eschewed a field goal attempt and called for a fake from the swinging gate formation that had the offensive line far to the left side of the field with just the snapper, kicker and holder Hunter Smith on the right. The Giants called timeout to design a defense for the unusual formation. Zorn was undeterred by the loss of the element of surprise, however, and he stuck with the swinging gate. Smith was hit as he threw the ball and the fluttering pass was intercepted and nearly returned for a touchdown. If Zorn wasnt already a dead man walking before that moment, the humiliation on national TV sealed his termination, which came two weeks later. The best time: Redskins 15, Giants 14, Dec. 19, 1982, RFK Stadium Going into this game, a win would put the 6-1 Redskins into the playoffs while a loss would have them in the muddled middle of the post-season scenarios in that strike-shortened season. It wasnt looking good at halftime as the visiting Giants had run up a 14-3 lead. The fact was that they were fortunate it wasnt much worse as they had turned the ball over five times in that half, four of them coming on interceptions of Joe Theismann. A 10-play, 80-yard drive to open the second half culminated in a 22-yard Joe Washington touchdown run. The play was supposed to be a halfback option, but the intended receiver was covered so Washington reversed his field and, with the aid of a textbook cross-body block thrown by Theismann, scooted into the end zone. Mark Moseley missed the point after, but kicked a 31-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to make it 14-12. That was his 20th straight successful attempt, tying the NFL record. An off and on snow became steady as Washington embarked on its final drive with 2:38 left. Passes to Rick Walker and Charlie Brown with a few John Riggins runs mixed in moved the Redskins to the New York 25. Moseley came on with nine seconds left. His 41-yard attempt was tipped slightly at the line, but it sailed through the uprights with plenty to spare. The consecutive field goals record was Moseleys and the Redskins clichd the playoff berth that led to their first Super Bowl title. The worst time: Redskins 7, Giants 7, Nov 23, 1997, FedEx Field The Giants have dealt some painful losses when visiting the Redskins but few were more agonizing for fans that their 7-7 tie in their first trip to FedEx Field. This game was a very pitiful kind of game," said Redskins cornerback Darrell Green said afterwards. "It was sort of embarrassing. Maybe the fans enjoyed it." Green was dead on except for the last sentence. Not even the most masochistic of those in attendance at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium or in the national TV audience watching the Sunday night game on ESPN could possibly have derived much pleasure from a game featuring 22 punts, six turnovers, 10 sacks, and 14 accepted penalties. One starting quarterback left the game with a self-inflicted injury; the other managed just 105 net yards passing through five quarters of play. The injured QB was Washingtons Gus Frerotte. Five plays after the Redskins Kennard Lang recovered a fumble at the New York 26, Frerotte rolled in for a touchdown from one yard out. Frerotte celebrated the score by head butting some padding on the stadium wall near the end zone. Unfortunately, there was thick concrete behind the thin padding and Frerotte would up going to the hospital with a jammed neck. He would certainly recover from the neck injury, but not from the jokes about his ill-conceived celebration. The Redskins were moving into position for a game-winning field goal at the end of overtime but receiver Michael Westbrook ripped off his helmet while complaining to the officials about a call, costing his team 15 valuable yards. Scott Blantons 54-yard field goal attempt fell short with two seconds left. That might be an all-timer, Green said. I don't think you can ever do anything worse on the football field. He was referring to Westbrooks outburst, but he could have been talking about any number of other moments in this one. Notes: --Another candidate for the best game at Washington was the Redskins 72-41 win over New York in 1966. More than 10,000 NFL games have been played since that one and it remains the highest-scoring game in NFL history. --Their 1985 meeting at RFK could be considered both a high and a low. The bad came in the first half as Joe Theismann suffered a career-ending broken leg as he was tackled by Lawrence Taylor. Things got better from there, however, as the untested Jay Schroeder came into the game to rally the Redskins to a 23-21 win. You can reach Rich by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins. Join Rich Tandler reporting from the press box at FedEx Field for an in-game chat during the Redskins-Giants game on Sunday. Things will get underway on www.CSNwashington.com shortly before kickoff at 12:45 Eastern and continue all game long.