by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — He had the look of a man who had just walked into a bulldozer. He had the look of a man who had just skinny-dipped in the Arctic circle. He had the look of a man who had just discovered a horse’s head in the sheets. Woof.

“Did you even know what you were doing out there by the last play?” someone asked Washington quarterback Jay Schroeder, after his team’s 17-0 NFC title loss to the New York Giants.

“Well,” he said, dizzy from a mild concussion, “I had an idea of what was going on out there.”

The idea was this: His team was getting killed.

Woof. I’m saying wooofff. Which is what I was saying last Monday at this time. But then, wasn’t this the same show as last week’s? Giants come out, Giants destroy, Giants go home. Frankly, if the New York fans weren’t so busy throwing garbage in celebration, they’d probably ask for their money back.

Yes, the Giants are NFC champions. If they’d reached the Super Bowl any quicker, they’d be going to last year’s. Zero points to Washington. Only three points the week before to the 49ers.

Confident? Well. Nothing against the Redskins, but on Sunday I saw several Giants return for the second half with Pasadena room keys.

“Did you ever have a chance?” someone asked Dexter Manley, Washington’s most quotable lineman, after the game.

“Yeah, we did,” he said. “We would have had a better chance if we scored some points.”

Well put. Skins were beaten early

How quickly was this title game decided? Well, we can say this for sure. It was still close when they tossed the coin.

The Redskins called tails. It came up heads. Here is a summary of the game from that point:

On their first possession, the Giants drove down field, reached the Redskins’ 30, kicked a field goal, thus assuring themselves a comfortable margin of victory, then waited for the final gun.

It came three hours and 14 points later. But that was just a formality, a chance for John Madden to do his nightclub schtick on TV. “This game was over by the first quarter.” Jay Schroeder said that. He plays for Washington, remember?

By halftime, the Redskins had converted zero third downs. They had gained a total of 90 yards. So smothering was the Giants’ defense, that the Redskins’ possessions were little more than station breaks. Necessary interruptions of the real show. When Schroeder wasn’t throwing at his receivers’ ankles, he was hitting them in the hands and watching them drop the ball anyhow.

“No matter what plays we called, they didn’t work,” he said, shaking his head.

I’m not sure what you would call your plays against the Giants’ defense. Something basic. Like “Mercy Killing Right, Human Sacrifice Left.”

Remember, this was the third time this season the Giants beat the Redskins. Three times? And the Redskins are good.

“I felt invisible out there,” Manley said.

Dexter Manley? Invisible?

Woof. That’s a lot of garbage

New York 17, Washington 0. It was over the moment it started. By the final seconds, the Giants were spilling Gatorade on each other, while Schroeder was on one knee along the opposite sideline. Perhaps he was praying. Perhaps he was wondering when the next shuttle left for D.C. Perhaps he was offering thanks. After all, a mild concussion is, well, mild compared to what the Giants’ defense did to Joe Montana last week. At least Schroeder got to go

home with his team.

Did I mention the celebration? Ah, yes. If the Redskins didn’t feel as if they were going down the sewer during the game, they certainly did afterward. The happy Giants fans tossed all means of garbage into the swirling winds. Confetti and toilet paper and newsprint. How New York.

If you’re happy and you know it, dump your cans.

Ah, well. On to the Super Bowl. Giants against the Broncos. Poor Denver. It had to work so hard for its tickets. Claw and chop its way through a cliff-hanger against New England, then go to overtime against Cleveland before winning.

And now, the Giants. Oh my. That’s like swimming a lake, hiking a forest, then seeing a sign that says “mountain range ahead.”

The Broncos have two weeks to come up with a plan to beat New York. If that is possible. The Giants haven’t lost since October.

I can only suggest one thing: Don’t let John Elway see the photos of Schroeder when he walked into the locker room Sunday. Not if he wants to get any sleep.

“Can you believe this win?” someone asked Giants quarterback Phil Simms in the victorious locker room afterward. “Can you believe it would be this dominating?”

“Yeah,” he said, “I can believe it. I expected it.” Woof.


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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