Collins leads winning charge

Kerry Collins didn't doubt for a second. Yes, really.

As the Redskins rallied and rallied some more, Collins said he never saw any of his teammates lose focus. The confidence never wavered, something Collins said he and the other team leaders made sure of.

Collins himself was a picture of calm.

"I definitely feel comfortable (in close games)," he said. "I think I've matured to that. Early in my career, I probably would have gotten a little out of whack, but now I just take each play as it comes."

That included the game-winning drive, which the Giants started at their own 6.

"It was a long way to go, but you've got to take it one play at a time," Collins said. "I feel like our guys really kept their cool and really are able to keep focused on what we need to do."

Collins was 3-for-4 for 50 yards on the drive, hitting Amani Toomer, Jeremy Shockey and Jim Finn for receptions.

"(Collins) is someone you can believe in because he has a complete understanding of our team and how to motivate us and get us down the field," running back Tiki Barber said. "I wouldn't trade him for anyone."

Toomer continued his tradition of playing well against Redskins CB Champ Bailey, considered among the finest corners in the league. Toomer had four catches for 81 yards. He outjumped Bailey and then ran away from his attempted ankle tackle on a 54-yard touchdown.

Bailey called Toomer "a great receiver."

"I have to give him a lot of credit," Bailey said. "Every time I face him, I look forward to the challenge. He's one of the best I'll face all year."

As for the secret to beating Bailey, Toomer smiled and shrugged.

"I got enormous respect for him," he said. "I don't know what it is."

Collins credited the offensive line for doing "a great job" as the Giants were able to get their ground game going and he stayed, mostly, upright. The Redskins had one sack, on a play when LB LaVar Arrington beat Barber.

"They did a great job against some unusual (defensive) looks," Collins said. "We got Tiki going. They gave me time to throw."

LT Luke Petitgout returned after missing the Dallas game because of back spasms. His presence was definitely felt. Petitgout kept DE Bruce Smith from getting any closer to the all-time sack record of 198. Smith remains 2 1/2 away.

FB Jim Finn made the biggest play of his NFL career, the 27-yard reception in overtime, and didn't even get credit for it. On the final statistics, tight end Jeremy Shockey was given the catch.

Speaking of Shockey, who averaged eight catches and 100 yards in two games against Washington last season, he had five catches for 65 yards. After one, he high-stepped and pointed to the crowd, showing more of his personal spunk that had been limited in the first two games.

We interrupt -- flag -- this report -- flag -- the same way the Giants-Redskins game was interrupted dozens of times.

The teams combined for 32 penalties. The Giants had 15 for 124 yards. The Redskins were more guilty, with 17 for 142.

Redskins QB Patrick Ramsey completed 23 of 45 passes for 348 yards, two TDs and an interception, by CB Will Allen. WR Laveranues Coles caught seven passes for 105 yards to become the only player in the NFL to string together three 100-yard receiving games this season. The Redskins averaged a healthy 5.6 yards per carry, led by Trung Canidate's nine rushes for 46 yards.

And Washington scored 18 unanswered points in the second half to force overtime.

All of this left Allen "mad," he said.

"We have to learn from our mistakes from this game," added SS Shaun Williams. "We shouldn't have let them come back. We've just got to get better."

The Redskins defense went into the game limiting opponents to 17.4 percent on third-down efficiency. That number will only improve. The Giants converted one of 10 third downs.

Asked how often he replayed in his mind his botched squib kick in the Dallas game, K Matt Bryant said: "I didn't replay it all week. But every news station in America did."

Kick returner and running back Brian Mitchell moved ahead of Jerry Rice -- at least for a day -- as the NFL's all-time leader in combined yards. Mitchell had 95 combined yards -- 10 receiving and 85 on kickoff returns. That gives him 22,379 total yards, passing Rice's total of 22,331.

Rice has a chance to take the record back tonight, when his Oakland Raiders play the Denver Broncos, although Mitchell is the favorite to eventually move ahead for good because he gets most of his yards returning kicks.
Sept. 22, 03