Studs & Duds

<strong>Offensive player of the game:</strong><br> Receiver Rod Gardner. He only caught five passes for 47 yards, but he also drew a pass interference penalty. And he caught an 11-yard touchdown pass, leaping in the middle of six Giants. Gardner has developed. We just wonder what he'd do with better talent around him.

Offensive dud: Quarterback Shane Matthews. He's just not accurate and is about to lose his job, probably to Danny Wuerffel. Matthews doesn't throw the fade route well, misfiring a couple times on that route. And he threw an ill-timed interception when he tossed to Derrius Thompson off his back foot. Then again, it's not as if he's throwing to wide-open receivers most of the game. Still, Matthews hasn't played as if he should continue starting.

Defensive player of the game: Cornerback Champ Bailey. He smothered receiver Amani Toomer. Bailey allowed only two receptions for 10 yards against Toomer, who grabbed six for 85 against everyone else. And the Giants tried to throw at Toomer against Bailey. It was the first time all season Washington had allowed Bailey to cover the opposition's best wideout, no matter where he lined up. Why? New York had only one threat. It's about time the Redskins used this strategy.

A nod to: Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, who led the team with 16 tackles. He stuffed Tiki Barber often. But Trotter's inability to cover tight end Jeremy Shockey lifted Bailey ahead of him.

Defensive dud: Safety David Terrell. OK, he made a beautiful diving interception, but he was completely toasted by receiver Amani Toomer for a 35-yard gain. Also, watching Terrell blitz is painful. He blitzed once Sunday and ran less than full speed, failing to do anything.

Receiver screens: The Redskins favorite play, the wide receiver screen, didn't work because the Giants corners are too quick and because the Redskins wideouts haven't made teams pay for coming up hard. They can't run by anyone, so why shouldn't a corner fly up?

Still shaky: Champ Bailey didn't look comfortable returning punts, still struggling when to catch the ball and when to fair catch. The weather conditions made it worse, with a steady rain and the usual winds. If Bailey ever gets a chance to run the ball he could be special. But it's catching the ball that makes him scary to his own team.

Telling stats: New York controlled the ball for 36:42, compared to 23:18 for Washington. . .The Redskins converted just three of 16 third downs. . . . New York ran 84 plays to the Redskins' 54.

Get more info: Coach Steve Spurrier chastised long snapper Ethan Albright for not knowing that he could request a new ball on the blocked field goal attempt. Spurrier sounded as if he was blaming the snap for the block. In reality, not only does Albright know he can request a new ball, but kicker James Tuthill blew the kick because he slipped. Spurrier ticked off a veteran (Albright) unfairly.

Telling exchange: With running back Stephen Davis. A reporter asked him after the game what the Redskins' offense does best. To which he said, ''What do you think we do best?'' The reporter said, ''Run the ball.'' And Davis replied, ''That's right.''

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