Giant win? Snowball's chance in hell

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The only positive to come out of Kerry Collins' season-ending ankle injury was the fact that Big Blue's durable QB was not around to see the end of the latest debacle at the snow-covered Meadowlands. The seemingly disinterested Giants dropped their fifth straight game overall and sixth consecutive home game as the Redskins walked away with a 20-7 victory at a half-empty Giants Stadium. <BR><BR>

"Obviously we didn't play well enough to win," Jim Fassel said. "We're not making plays out there. We're just not doing things at all, time and time, to win a ball game."

Against an equally apathetic opponent at that.

The Redskins didn't seem much more interested in winning than the Giants, yet did more than enough to walk away with their fifth win of the season. Losing the turnover battle 3-0 will do that to you.

Collins was carted off the field midway through the third quarter after his left ankle was twisted awkwardly following contact with Redskins DE Bruce Smith. For the record, that was the closest Smith got to Collins. However, Smith feasted on backup QB Jesse Palmer, becoming the NFL's all-time sack leader with a seven-yard sack in the final quarter.

"To do what he's done, I can't imagine getting that many sacks," Michael Strahan said.

As for Collins, it's hard to imagine him playing again this season, although he was very fortunate not to have suffered any broken bones.

Broken hearts in Giantsland was another story.

The sight of empty seats was an embarrassment to anyone connected to the Giants organization. The paid attendance was listed as 78,217. As for actual fannies in the seats? Not even close. If there were 40,000 people the Giants would have been fortunate. By the end of the game when the clock was ticking down on yet another decisive Giants loss, there couldn't have been more than 10,000 fans left, many of them Redskins rooters.

"It's very deflating," Collins said. "You'd like to hear the place rocking in December."

Big Blue hasn't done a thing to entice the fans to stick around since the season-opening win over St. Louis.

By the end of the game, even former Giants LB Jessie Armstead knew it was a foregone conclusion that Fassel had only three games left in his New York career.

"They have to accept this loss just like we had to accept it when they beat us," Armstead said. "It's just part of the game. Coach Fassel is a good coach and he'll rebound somewhere. He'll have another opportunity in this league somewhere."

The Giants literally handed Washington its first points, as Tiki Barber lost another fumble – on his first touch of the game – giving the Skins the ball at the Giants 27. The fumble was forced by Regan Upshaw, with Champ Bailey recovering.

"Those are the things that mount on us," Fassel said. "There is no question in my mind, you can only do that so many times and it doesn't wear on you to the point where you lose that hope that you're going to win.

"That is kind of what has happened to us all year."

The Redskins moved all the way to the Giants 1-yard line before the defense stiffened courtesy of a third down sack by Strahan. That forced Washington to settle for a 28-yard John Hall FG.

The Giants blew a chance to tie it up when Matt Bryant missed a 26-yarder wide left, but they'd capitalize on their next try. New York took advantage of Bryan Barker's 16-yard punt into the wind and took possession at the Redskins 35. Seven plays later, Big Blue was in the end zone when Dorsey Levens carried Bruce Smith over the goal line.

But the good news for Big Blue would end there.

The Redskins quickly regained the lead following a 50-yard return by Patrick Johnson on the ensuing kickoff. That led to Tim Hasselbeck's 6-yard TD toss to Darnerien McCants, who easily slipped by Ryan Clark in the end zone.

Shortly before halftime, Tim Carter couldn't handle Collins' pass deep in Washington territory and the ball was picked off by Bailey.

The Skins came out of the locker room after halftime and stormed 80 yards to a 17-7 lead. Gardner caught a 7-yard TD pass in between Johnnie Harris and Ralph Brown to cap the march.

In the meantime, the Giants offense – playing with the wind – couldn't get anything going in the third period, actually losing 11 yards during that 15-minute stretch.

"We had only six plays in the third quarter with the wind at our back," Fassel said. In the fourth quarter, Redskins super-LB LaVar Arrington sacked Palmer and forced a fumble. Hall's 41-yard field goal padded the Skins lead.

That was it for the scoring – and for the fifth straight week, that was it for the Giants, who once again went down without a fight.

For Owner Wellington Mara, it was an extremely tough afternoon to stomach.

"The highlight of the game was my granddaughter (Kate) singing the national anthem," he said.

That about sums it up.

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