November 8, 1990
PRO FOOTBALL; Ghosts of Disasters Haunting the Giants
By FRANK LITSKY, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
Whom will the Giants play Sunday in Anaheim, Calif.?
According to the schedule, the opponent will be the Los Angeles Rams.
According to many people who have followed the Giants, the opponent will be the ghost of disasters past, two losses to the Rams last year. The first loss wounded the Giants' pride. The second ended their season.
Now the Giants are rolling again. They have finished the first half of the National Football League season with an 8-0 record. The Rams are struggling at 3-5. Not Heavily Favored
Still, the Giants are only slight favorites. The Rams usually play well against them, and people remember what the Rams did to them last year.
Their first meeting was in Anaheim. The Giants were 8-1, the Rams 5-4 with four straight losses.
In the last minute of the first half, with the Giants trailing, 10-3, Jim Everett of the Rams passed to Aaron Cox. When Myron Guyton, the defender, slipped, Cox completed a 51-yard touchdown play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Dave Meggett of the Giants slipped, fell and fumbled. The Rams recovered on the Giants' 21-yard line, and on the next play Everett passed to Willie (Flipper) Anderson for a touchdown.
So the Rams had two touchdowns in 14 seconds and a 24-3 lead at the half. They won, 31-10. The Giants rushed for only 6 yards all day. Summing It Up
"It was a farce," Erik Howard, the Giants' nose tackle, said today. "We played terrible. They played great. They couldn't do anything wrong."
"Everybody said we played flat because we stayed in Phoenix that week to practice," said Coach Bill Parcells of the Giants. "The real reason was we made two mistakes near the half, so instead of being one touchdown down, it was three."
The Giants finished the season with a 12-4 record and a division title. The Rams ended 11-5, then won a wild-card playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The following Sunday, they played the Giants here.
After regulation time, the score was tied, 13-13. In overtime, with Sheldon White covering Anderson, a questionable 27-yard penalty for pass interference put the Rams on the Giants' 25. Next came a false-start penalty against the Rams.
On the next play, the Giants blitzed. When Anderson saw that, he made the correct sight adjustment. Instead of running a post pattern, he streaked down the field.
Everett made the same read and passed to Anderson for a 30-yard touchdown that won the game for the Rams, 19-13. Anderson kept running through the tunnel to the locker room.
"We had the game under control," said Bill Belichick, the Giants' defensive coordinator, "and we let it slip away."
Anderson, speaking by telephone from Anaheim, said the Giants would not forget. Anderson Is Wary
"They have to come here with some vengeance in mind," he said, "something to prove to us."
Not so, said Phil Simms, the Giants' quarterback.
"I don't think we need motivation," he said. "That's the good thing about this team."
Parcells said, as he had so often, that history meant little in pro football. He said he would not use last year's misfortunes to motivate his players.
"It's a different year," Parcells said. "We're starting the second half of the season. Nothing has been decided. So I don't think what happened last year affects this year.
"It's not that big a deal. These guys are professional athletes. They get paid to play well and win. That's what they're supposed to do." Low-Key Practice
Because the Giants played Monday night, they have one day less for their bodies to recover, so Wednesday's practice was run in sweatsuits and no pads. Everyone on the roster worked, including Jumbo Elliott, who missed the last four games with an injured left leg. Odessa Turner, still on injured reserve with a sprained right knee, continued to work and could be ready for Sunday. Parcells said he was pleased that Carl Banks was recovering ahead of schedule from a dislocated left wrist, but said Banks would not be ready to work for at least two more weeks. . . . The Rams activated Marcus Dupree, a once-celebrated running back who has not played in five years. Coach John Robinson of the Rams reported that Robert Cox, a backup offensive tackle who has missed four games with an injured knee, remained questionable for this one.